Perfecting Friendship: Politics and Affiliation in Early American Literature

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Univ of North Carolina Press, 06 սեպ, 2007 թ. - 288 էջ
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Contemporary notions of friendship regularly place it in the private sphere, associated with feminized forms of sympathy and affection. As Ivy Schweitzer explains, however, this perception leads to a misunderstanding of American history. In an exploration of early American literature and culture, Schweitzer uncovers friendships built on a classical model that is both public and political in nature.

Schweitzer begins with Aristotle's ideal of "perfect" friendship that positions freely chosen relationships among equals as the highest realization of ethical, social, and political bonds. Evidence in works by John Winthrop, Hannah Foster, James Fenimore Cooper, and Catharine Sedgwick confirms that this classical model shaped early American concepts of friendship and, thus, democracy. Schweitzer argues that recognizing the centrality of friendship as a cultural institution is critical to understanding the rationales for consolidating power among white males in the young nation. She also demonstrates how women, nonelite groups, and minorities have appropriated and redefined the discourse of perfect friendship, making equality its result rather than its requirement. By recovering the public nature of friendship, Schweitzer establishes discourse about affection and affiliation as a central component of American identity and democratic community.

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The Renascence of Friendship A Story of American Social and Political Life
1
Smoke and Mirrors A History of Equality and Interchangeability in Friendship Theory
27
Familiar Commerce John Winthrops Modell of American Affiliation
73
Hannah Webster Fosters Coquette Resurrecting Friendship from the Tomb of Marriage
103
Eat Your Heart Out James Fenimore Coopers Male Romance and the American Myth of Interracial Friendship
133
The Ethical Horizon of American Friendship in Catharine Sedgwicks Hope Leslie
165
The Persistence of Second Selves
207
Notes
211
Works Cited
239
Index
259
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Հեղինակի մասին (2007)

Ivy Schweitzer is professor of English at Dartmouth College. She is author and coeditor of three other books, including The Work of Self-Representation: Lyric Poetry in Colonial New England (from the University of North Carolina Press).

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