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Slavery Philosophy American Literature

Slavery Philosophy American Literature

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Published by christos1983

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Published by: christos1983 on Jan 29, 2012
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12/20/2013

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SLAVERY, PHILOSOPHY, AND AMERICANLITERATURE,
1830
1860
Examining the literature of slavery and race before the Civil War,Maurice Lee demonstrates for the first time exactly how the slavery crisis became a crisis of philosophy that exposed the breakdown of national consensus and the limits of rational authority. Poe, Stowe,Douglass, Melville, and Emerson were among the antebellumauthors who tried – and failed – to find rational solutions to theslavery conflict. Unable to mediate the slavery controversy as thenation moved toward war, their writings form an uneasy transitionbetween the confident rationalism of the American Enlightenmentand the more skeptical thought of the pragmatists. Lee draws onantebellum moral philosophy, political theory, and metaphysics,bringing a fresh perspective to the literature of slavery – one thatsynthesizes cultural studies and intellectual history to argue thatromantic, sentimental, and black Atlantic writers all struggled withmodernity when facing the slavery crisis.
MAURICE LEE
is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Missouri. His work has appeared in
American Literature 
,
PMLA 
,
ESQ 
, and
African American Review.

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