Divergent Visions, Contested Spaces
The Early United States through Lens of Travel
This multicultural project examines fictional and non-fictional accounts of travel in the Early Republic and antebellum periods. Connecting literary representations of geographic spaces within and outside of U.S. borders to evolving definitions of national American identity, the book explores divergent visions of contested spaces. Through an examination of depictions of the land and travel in fiction and non-fiction, the study uncovers the spatial and legal conceptions of national identity. The study argues that imagined geographies in American literature dramatize a linguistic contest among dominant and marginal voices.
Blending interpretations of canonical authors, such as James Fenimore Cooper, Frederick Douglass, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., and Herman Melville, with readings of less well -known writers like Gilbert Imlay, Elizabeth House Trist, Sauk Chief Black Hawk, William Grimes, and Moses Roper, the book interprets diverse authors' impressions of significant spaces migrations. The movements and regions covered include the Anglo-American migration to the Trans-Appalachian Valley after the Revolutionary War; the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and Anglo-American travel west of the Mississippi; the Underground Railroad as depicted in the fugitive slave narrative and novel; and the extension of American interests in maritime endeavors off the California coast and in the South Pacific.
Table of Contents
Chapter One Questions of U.S. History, Citizenship, and American Identity Chapter Two Utopian Imagery of Place and the Dystopian Fragment: Imagining Trans-Appalachian Destinations in Trist's Travel Diary and lmlay's The Emigrants Chapter Three Translating the United States "Frontier" for the East: Literary Versions of the West in Cooper's The Prairie and Black Hawk's Life, 1827-1833 ChapterFour The Voices of Fugitive Slaves and Their Representations of Covert Geographies in the North, the South, and Abroad: William Grimes, Moses Roper, and Frederick Douglass Chapter Five Travels of Corporate Endeavor in Dana's and Melville's First Travel Narratives: Fractured Domestic Identities and National Projects Abroad, Conclusion Remembering Histories and Understanding the Present
Jeffrey Hotz is an Assistant Professor of English at Montgomery College and the Coordinator of the College-level English program at the Takoma Park campus. He has presented papers at numerous conferences, including the annual American Literature Association Conference, the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, and the American Conference on Romanticism.