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Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)

Democracy, Revolution, and Monarchism in Early American Literature (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture)

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Paul Downes
Cambridge University Press, 8/15/2002
EAN 9780521813396, ISBN10: 0521813395

Hardcover, 252 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
Language: English

Paul Downes combines literary criticism and political history in order to explore responses to the rejection of monarchism in the American revolutionary era. Downes' analysis considers the Declaration of Independence, Franklin's autobiography, Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer and the works of America's first significant literary figures including Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. He claims that the post-revolutionary American state and the new democratic citizen inherited some of the complex features of absolute monarchy, even as they were strenuously trying to assert their difference from it. In chapters that consider the revolution's mock execution of George III, the Elizabethan notion of the 'king's two bodies' and the political significance of the secret ballot, Downes points to the traces of monarchical political structures within the practices and discourses of early American democracy. This is an ambitious study of an important theme in early American culture and society.

Preface
Acknowledgements
Introduction
the spell of democracy
1. Monarchophobia
reading the mock executions of 1776
2. Crèvecoeur's revolutionary loyalism
3. Citizen subjects
the memoirs of Stephen Burroughs and Benjamin Franklin
4. An epistemology of the ballot box
Brockden Brown's secrets
5. Luxury, effeminacy, corruption
Irving and the gender of democracy
Afterword
the revolution's last word
Notes, Bibliography
Index.