Making National Bodies
Stefan L. Brandt, Astrid M. Fellner (Eds.)
Making National Bodies. Cultural Identity and the Politics of the Body in (Post-)Revolutionary America
ISBN 978-3-86821-222-8, 164 S., kt., € 19,50 (2010)
(Mosaic - Studien und Texte zur amerikanischen Kultur und Geschichte, Bd. 38)
Making National Bodies addresses the discourse of the body in Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary America. While recent literary and cultural criticism has extensively explored the relation between concepts of the nation and the body, this volume of essays contributes to the academic dialogue by addressing a crucial period of American history. The trope of the body gained particular importance during this era of emerging nationalism, especially when the body politic, its weaknesses and strengths were seen and described in terms of bodily functions: infections, virtuousness, and purity became key terms in the description of the nation. In the early years of the Republic, the imaginary, the rhetorical, and the symbolic were employed for the making of the nation. Topics such as the metaphorical constitution of the body in literary texts, or the body in the medical discourse of the time are taken up in some of the essays while others investigate how the Republic and the nation were invented in foundational fictions and epic poems. The essays collected in this volume assert that the discourse of embodiment was indispensible for the construction of a stable national identity in post-Revolutionary America. The aesthetics of corporeal self-fashioning was instrumental in generating the basis for a rhetoric of "making the national body."
Buchvorschau / Inhaltsverzeichnis (pdf)
"The collection is a welcome contribution to the field of early American studies, and it signals well beyond its range of historical interest the productiveness of an intersection between a growing field of studies of the body in its discursive and material implications and a distinctly American studies approach heedful of historic and methodic specificity."
Karin Höpker, Anglistik – International Journal of English Studies 23.2 (2012)