This monograph focuses on the history of American literary historiography, both in the USA and in Italy. It is divided into two parts, both of which evolve chronologically. The first part concentrates on the principal literary histories of the United States, from that of Samuel L. Knapp in 1829 to Sacvan Bercovitch’s eight-volume series completed in 2005. It engages in analytical readings of selected U.S. literary histories that both in their own day and in the fullness of time have been considered landmarks in the field of American literary historiography and had a decisive influence in constructing dominant understandings of the field of American literature—its various genres, significant historical periods, and major writers. The second part collects, for the first time in American literary studies, the voices of Italian scholars of American literary history. Much less selective than the first half of the book, this part examines virtually all of the italian texts that presented themselves as histories of American literature, from that written by Gustavo Strafforello in 1884 to the history of American literature directed by Agostino Lombardo, whose latest volume was published in 1999. It focuses upon works that trace what was articulated as the “development” of American literature, beginning with an American literary tradition that was understood as unacademic and capable of revitalizing the old Italian world of letters. It continues with an examination of a tradition that by the mid-twentieth century came to perceive American literature as important as other Europena literary traditions. It finishes with a body of Italian scholarship that discusses the new articulation of literary history during the 1990s. On the most general level this book argues that American literary histories, regardless of the different critical and theoretical principles an which they are based, have always had, and continue to have, an important role in national cohesion even when, in more recent times, that cohesion has loosened and urgent questions of globalization have presented themselves for literary studies. Further, that nationalism remains a constant feature of literary hstory and corresponds to the need to articulate and autonomy which is cultural as well as academic.

In Their Own Terms: American Literary Historiography in the United States and Italy

PONTUALE, Francesco
2007

Abstract

This monograph focuses on the history of American literary historiography, both in the USA and in Italy. It is divided into two parts, both of which evolve chronologically. The first part concentrates on the principal literary histories of the United States, from that of Samuel L. Knapp in 1829 to Sacvan Bercovitch’s eight-volume series completed in 2005. It engages in analytical readings of selected U.S. literary histories that both in their own day and in the fullness of time have been considered landmarks in the field of American literary historiography and had a decisive influence in constructing dominant understandings of the field of American literature—its various genres, significant historical periods, and major writers. The second part collects, for the first time in American literary studies, the voices of Italian scholars of American literary history. Much less selective than the first half of the book, this part examines virtually all of the italian texts that presented themselves as histories of American literature, from that written by Gustavo Strafforello in 1884 to the history of American literature directed by Agostino Lombardo, whose latest volume was published in 1999. It focuses upon works that trace what was articulated as the “development” of American literature, beginning with an American literary tradition that was understood as unacademic and capable of revitalizing the old Italian world of letters. It continues with an examination of a tradition that by the mid-twentieth century came to perceive American literature as important as other Europena literary traditions. It finishes with a body of Italian scholarship that discusses the new articulation of literary history during the 1990s. On the most general level this book argues that American literary histories, regardless of the different critical and theoretical principles an which they are based, have always had, and continue to have, an important role in national cohesion even when, in more recent times, that cohesion has loosened and urgent questions of globalization have presented themselves for literary studies. Further, that nationalism remains a constant feature of literary hstory and corresponds to the need to articulate and autonomy which is cultural as well as academic.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11580/3303
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