By Eric J. Sundquist

The flourishing of pre-Civil warfare literature often called the yankee Renaissance happened in a unstable context of nationwide enlargement and sectional strife. Canonical writers equivalent to Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Henry David Thoreau, in addition to these extra lately acclaimed, corresponding to Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe, emerged amidst literature dedicated to questions of nationalism, exploration, empire, the frontier, and slavery. This outpouring incorporated the most vital early works in African American, American Indian, and Chicana/Chicano literature. Empire and Slavery in American Literature, 1820-1865 tells the tale of this incredibly bright and wide-ranging multicultural "renaissance" of our nationwide literature.

Scores of diaries, experiences, and memoirs, as well as a various ingenious literature, documented the nation's growth to its smooth continental borders, besides exploration of territory a long way past. pushed by way of trust within the "manifest future" of usa citizens to deliver liberty to new lands, narratives of empire ranged from the heroic to the wonderful, they usually spawned a favored frontier literature that created one of the most enduring myths of the United States. even as, growth provoked a corresponding literature of dispossession by means of American Indians and Mexicans that mixed protest with statements of satisfaction and independence.

Accompanying enlargement was once the contentious and eventually tragic debate over slavery performed in a voluminous proslavery and antislavery literature that took the shape of speeches, pamphlets, autobiography, poetry, and fiction. by way of juxtaposing the literature of slavery with the literatures of exploration and the frontier, Empire and Slavery strains the formative positive aspects of the nationwide photo of the United States.

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