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By Philip Fisher

American tradition has frequently been defined by way of paradigmatic images--the wasteland, the Jeffersonian panorama of kinfolk farms, the nice business towns on the flip of the nineteenth century. yet underlying those cultural beliefs are much less chuffed paradoxes. Settling the land intended banishing the Indians and destroying the wasteland; Jeffersonian landscapes have been created with the aid of the recent country's enslaved voters; and monetary possibilities within the towns have been bought on the excessive rate of self-commercialization. during this research of the preferred nineteenth- and early 20th-century American novel, Philip Fisher demonstrates how such works as Dreiser's Sister Carrie and An American Tragedy, Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Cooper's The Deerslayer labored to make those 3 "hard proof" of the 19th-century American event frequent and tolerable--or prevalent and intolerable--to their extensive viewers of readers. His perceptive research proves that crucial cultural "work" used to be comprehensive now not by way of novels commonly taken to be on the center of the yankee literary canon--those of Hawthorne, Melville, or Twain--but really by means of books which by no means deserted the ambition to be extensively read.

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