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Fictions of Mass Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America: 173 (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture, Series Number 173)

Fictions of Mass Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America: 173 (Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture, Series Number 173)

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Stacey Margolis
Cambridge University Press, 7/23/2015
EAN 9781107107809, ISBN10: 1107107806

Hardcover, 226 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
Language: English

Fictions of Mass Democracy in Nineteenth-Century America examines how mass democracy was understood before public opinion could be measured by polls. It argues that fiction, in its freedom to represent what resists representation, develops the most groundbreaking theories of the democratic public. These literary accounts of democracy focus less on overt pubic action than the profound effects of everyday social encounters. This book thus departs from recent scholarship, which emphasizes the responsibilities of citizenship and the achievements of oppositional social movements. It demonstrates how novels and stories by Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Fanny Fern, Harriet Jacobs and James Fenimore Cooper attempt to understand a public organized not only by explicitly political discourse, but by informal and disorganized social networks.

1. Network theory circa 1800
Charles Brockden Brown's Arthur Mervyn
2. Gossip in the age of print
Poe's crowdsourcing
3. The people's curse
Hawthorne's network theory of power
4. Publics, counterpublics, networks
the viral complaint of Melville, Fern, and Jacobs
5. The tyranny of opinion
Cooper's The Ways of the Hour.