By Holly Jackson
Traditional understandings of the relatives in nineteenth-century literary stories depict a honored establishment rooted in sentiment, sympathy, and intimacy. American Blood upends this thought, displaying how novels of the interval often emphasize the darker facets of the vaunted family unit. instead of a resource of defense and heat, the kin emerges as exclusionary, deleterious to civic existence, and hostile to the political firm of the U.S..
Through creative readings supported via cultural-historical learn, Holly Jackson explores serious depictions of the family members in more than a few either canonical and forgotten novels. Republican competition to the generational transmission of estate in early the United States emerges in Nathaniel Hawthorne's the home of the Seven Gables (1851). The "tragic mulatta" trope in William Wells Brown's Clotel (1853) is printed as a metaphor for sterility and nationwide dying, linking mid-century theories of hybrid infertility to anxieties about the nation's hindrance of political continuity. A amazing interpretation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Dred (1856) occupies a next bankruptcy, as Jackson uncovers how the writer so much linked to the enshrinement of family kinship deconstructs either medical and mawkish conceptions of the kinfolk. a spotlight on feminist perspectives of maternity and the kinfolk anchor readings of Anna E. Dickinson's What resolution? (1868) and Sarah Orne Jewett's the rustic of the Pointed Firs (1896), whereas a bankruptcy on Pauline Hopkins's Hagar's Daughter (1901) examines the way it engages with socio-scientific discourses of black atavism to reveal the family's position no longer easily as a metaphor for the country but additionally because the mechanism for the replica of its unequal social relations.
Cogently argued, basically written, and anchored in unconventional readings, American Blood offers a chain of full of life arguments that might curiosity literary students and historians of the family members, because it finds how nineteenth-century novels imagine-even welcome-the decline of the kinfolk and the social order that it helps.
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Additional info for American Blood: The Ends of the Family in American Literature, 1850-1900
T H E T R A N S F OR M AT I O N OF A M E R I C A N FA M I LY P R OP E R T Y Blood is the point of overlap between the traditional regime of power based on class and a new regime based on race. Michel Foucault describes the resignification of “blood” over the century and a half that this romance addresses: “Beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, the thematics of blood was sometimes called on to lend its entire historical weight toward revitalizing the type of political power that was exercised through the devices of sexuality.
39 From the Revolution through the Jacksonian period, economic changes undermined this traditional family form. ”40 Anxiety about the status of the family as an institution accompanied this reorganization of traditional power arrangements. ” T H E T R A N S F OR M AT I O N OF A M E R I C A N FA M I LY P R OP E R T Y Blood is the point of overlap between the traditional regime of power based on class and a new regime based on race. Michel Foucault describes the resignification of “blood” over the century and a half that this romance addresses: “Beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century, the thematics of blood was sometimes called on to lend its entire historical weight toward revitalizing the type of political power that was exercised through the devices of sexuality.
This repositions the “mulatta” not as a “tragic” trope, but rather as a figure of queer negativity and a formal representation of the biopolitical tactics of the enslaved. Moreover, this chapter introduces new findings about the sources and print history of Clotel’s climactic leap from the Long Bridge. Chapter 3 turns to the American author perhaps most associated with the enshrinement of domestic kinship, arguing that Stowe’s second novel, Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856), surprisingly deconstructs both scientific and sentimental conceptions of the family, the very locus of cultural power that she had so masterfully mobilized in Uncle Tom’s Cabin only four years earlier.