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Speaking with the Dead in Early America

Speaking with the Dead in Early America

Author: Erik R. Seeman

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9780812296419

Category: History

Page: 344

View: 733

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In late medieval Catholicism, mourners employed an array of practices to maintain connection with the deceased—most crucially, the belief in purgatory, a middle place between heaven and hell where souls could be helped by the actions of the living. In the early sixteenth century, the Reformation abolished purgatory, as its leaders did not want attention to the dead diminishing people's devotion to God. But while the Reformation was supposed to end communication between the living and dead, it turns out the result was in fact more complicated than historians have realized. In the three centuries after the Reformation, Protestants imagined continuing relationships with the dead, and the desire for these relations came to form an important—and since neglected—aspect of Protestant belief and practice. In Speaking with the Dead in Early America, historian Erik R. Seeman undertakes a 300-year history of Protestant communication with the dead. Seeman chronicles the story of Protestants' relationships with the deceased from Elizabethan England to puritan New England and then on through the American Enlightenment into the middle of the nineteenth century with the explosion of interest in Spiritualism. He brings together a wide range of sources to uncover the beliefs and practices of both ordinary people, especially women, and religious leaders. This prodigious research reveals how sermons, elegies, and epitaphs portrayed the dead as speaking or being spoken to, how ghost stories and Gothic fiction depicted a permeable boundary between this world and the next, and how parlor songs and funeral hymns encouraged singers to imagine communication with the dead. Speaking with the Dead in Early America thus boldly reinterprets Protestantism as a religion in which the dead played a central role.

Grief and Genre in American Literature, 1790–1870

Grief and Genre in American Literature, 1790–1870

Author: Desirée Henderson

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781317124481

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 200

View: 223

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Focusing on the role of genre in the formation of dominant conceptions of death and dying, Desirée Henderson examines literary texts and social spaces devoted to death and mourning in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. Henderson shows how William Hill Brown, Susanna Rowson, and Hannah Webster borrowed from and challenged funeral sermon conventions in their novelistic portrayals of the deaths of fallen women; contrasts the eulogies for George Washington with William Apess's "Eulogy for King Philip" to expose conflicts between national ideology and indigenous history; examines Frederick Douglass's use of the slave cemetery to represent the costs of slavery for African American families; suggests that the ideas about democracy materialized in Civil War cemeteries and monuments influenced Walt Whitman's war elegies; and offers new contexts for analyzing Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's The Gates Ajar and Emily Dickinson's poetry as works that explore the consequences of female writers claiming authority over the mourning process. Informed by extensive archival research, Henderson's study eloquently speaks to the ways in which authors adopted, revised, or rejected the conventions of memorial literature, choices that disclose their location within decisive debates about appropriate gender roles and sexual practices, national identity and citizenship, the consequences of slavery, the nature of democratic representation, and structures of authorship and literary authority.

Early American Almanac Humor

Early American Almanac Humor

Author: Robert K. Dodge

Publisher: Popular Press

ISBN: 0879723939

Category: Humor

Page: 184

View: 311

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This collection is a selection of comic items from almanacs published between 1776 and 1800. Dodge uses his smooth, astute writing style to unfold the humor in a section of American Heritage. The eight chapters are categorized by subject, including "Comic American Heroes," "The Tall Tale," and "Men, Women, Marriage, and Sex."

The Black Indian in American Literature

The Black Indian in American Literature

Author: K. Byars-Nichols

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9781137389183

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 129

View: 166

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The first book-length study of the figure of the black Indian in American Literature, this project explores themes of nation, culture, and performativity. Moving from the Post-Independence period to the Contemporary era, Byars-Nichols re-centers a marginalized group challenges stereotypes and conventional ways of thinking about race and culture.

Mortal Remains

Mortal Remains

Author: Nancy Isenberg

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 9780812218237

Category: Family & Relationships

Page: 265

View: 348

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"These 12 short, highly focused essays analyze how experiences with death and the imagery associated with it influenced US culture before 1860."—Choice

The Early American Daguerreotype

The Early American Daguerreotype

Author: Sarah Kate Gillespie

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262034104

Category: Photography

Page: 227

View: 569

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The American daguerreotype as something completely new: a mechanical invention that produced an image, a hybrid of fine art and science and technology. The daguerreotype, invented in France, came to America in 1839. By 1851, this early photographic method had been improved by American daguerreotypists to such a degree that it was often referred to as “the American process.” The daguerreotype—now perhaps mostly associated with stiffly posed portraits of serious-visaged nineteenth-century personages—was an extremely detailed photographic image, produced though a complicated process involving a copper plate, light-sensitive chemicals, and mercury fumes. It was, as Sarah Kate Gillespie shows in this generously illustrated history, something wholly and remarkably new: a product of science and innovative technology that resulted in a visual object. It was a hybrid, with roots in both fine art and science, and it interacted in reciprocally formative ways with fine art, science, and technology. Gillespie maps the evolution of the daguerreotype, as medium and as profession, from its introduction to the ascendancy of the “American process,” tracing its relationship to other fields and the professionalization of those fields. She does so by recounting the activities of a series of American daguerreotypists, including fine artists, scientists, and mechanical tinkerers. She describes, for example, experiments undertaken by Samuel F. B. Morse as he made the transition from artist to inventor; how artists made use of the daguerreotype, both borrowing conventions from fine art and establishing new ones for a new medium; the use of the daguerreotype in various sciences, particularly astronomy; and technological innovators who drew on their work in the mechanical arts. By the 1860s, the daguerreotype had been supplanted by newer technologies. Its rise (and fall) represents an early instance of the ever-constant stream of emerging visual technologies.

Handbook of Death and Dying

Handbook of Death and Dying

Author: Clifton D. Bryant

Publisher: SAGE

ISBN: 9780761925149

Category: Death

Page: 1146

View: 737

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Review: "More than 100 scholars contributed to this carefully researched, well-organized, informative, and multi-disciplinary source on death studies. Volume 1, "The Presence of Death," examines the cultural, historical, and societal frameworks of death, such as the universal fear of death, spirituality and varioius religions, the legal definition of death, suicide, and capital punishment. Volume 2, "The Response to Death," covers such topics as rites and ceremonies, grief and bereavement, and legal matters after death."--"The Top 20 Reference Titles of the Year," American Libraries, May 2004.

The Military in Colonial America

The Military in Colonial America

Author: Carol Ellis

Publisher: Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC

ISBN: 9781627128971

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 82

View: 234

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Settlers needed protection from the start of the colonial period. This was provided first by citizen militias and finally by the professional soldiers of the Continental army.

Defining Creole

Defining Creole

Author: John H. McWhorter

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780190290405

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 444

View: 356

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A conventional wisdom among creolists is that creole is a sociohistorical term only: that creole languages share a particular history entailing adults rapidly acquiring a language usually under conditions of subordination, but that structurally they are indistinguishable from other languages. The articles by John H. McWhorter collected in this volume demonstrate that this is in fact untrue. Creole languages, while complex and nuanced as all human languages are, are delineable from older languages as the result of their having come into existence only a few centuries ago. Then adults learn a language under untutored conditions, they abbreviate its structure, focusing upon features vital to communication and shaving away most of the features useless to communication that bedevil those acquiring the language non-natively. When they utilize their rendition of the language consistently enough to create a brand-new one, this new creation naturally evinces evidence of its youth: specifically, a much lower degree of the random accretions typical in older languages, which only develop over vast periods of time. The articles constitute a case for this thesis based on both broad, cross-creole ranges of data and focused expositions referring to single creole languages. The book presents a general case for a theory of language contact and creolization in which not only transfer from source languages but also structural reduction plays a central role, based on facts whose marginality of address in creole studies has arisen from issues sociopolitical as well as scientific. For several decades the very definition of the term creole has been elusive even among creole specialists. This book attempts to forge a path beyond the inter- and intra-disciplinary misunderstandings and stalemates that have resulted from this, and to demonstrate the place that creoles might occupy in other linguistic subfields, including typology, language contact, and syntactic theory.