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Image for American Claimants : The Transatlantic Romance, c. 1820-1920

American Claimants : The Transatlantic Romance, c. 1820-1920

By: Meer, Sarah (Senior Lecturer in English, University of Cambridge Fellow of Selwyn College)

0198812515 / 9780198812517
Published 15/05/2020
United Kingdom
162 x 240 mm, 596 grams 288 pages, 18 Illustrations
Professional & Vocational  Learn More

This book recovers a major nineteenth-century literary figure, the American Claimant.

For over a century, claimants offered a compelling way to understand cultural difference across the Anglophone Atlantic, especially between Britain and the United States.

They also formed a political talisman, invoked against slavery and segregation, or privileges of gender and class.

Later, claimants were exported to South Africa, becoming the fictional form for explaining blackstudents who acquired American degrees.

American Claimants traces the figure back to lost-heir romance, and explores its uses.

These encompassed real, imagined, and textual ideas of inheritance, for writers and editors, and also for missionaries, artists, and students.

The claimant dramatized tensions between tradition and change, or questions of exclusion and power: it offered ways of seeing activism, education, sculpture, and dress.

The premise for dozens of novels and plays, a trope, a joke, even the basis for real claims: claimants matter in theatre history and periodical studies, they touch on literary marketing and reprinting, and they illuminate some unexpected texts.

These range from Our American Cousin to Bleak House, LittleLord Fauntleroy to Frederick Douglass' Paper; writers discussed include Frances Trollope, Julia Griffiths, Alexander Crummell, John Dube, James McCune Smith, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Mark Twain.

The focus on claimants yields remarkable finds: new faces, fresh angles, a lost column, and a forgotten theatrical genre.

Itreveals the pervasiveness of this form, and its centrality in imagining cultural contact and exchange.


1KBB USA, 2AB English, 3JH c 1800 to c 1900, DSBF Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900 , DSK Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers

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RRP £65.00
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