Literary Reinventions of America at the End of the Eighteenth Century
CollectionKnowledge Unlatched (KU)
Posthumous America examines the literary idealization of a lost American past. It investigates the reasons why, for a group of French writers of the 18th and 19th centuries, America was never more potent as a driving ideal than in its loss. For example, Hoffmann examines the paradoxical American paradise depicted in Crèvecœur’s Lettres d’un cultivateur américain (1784); the “uchronotopia” of Lezay-Marnésia’s Lettres écrites des rives de l’Ohio (1800)—the imaginary perfect society set in America and based on what France might have become without the Revolution; and the political and nationalistic motivations behind Chateaubriand’s idealization of America in Voyage en Amérique (1827) and Mémoires d’outre-tombe (1850). From an historical perspective, Posthumous Americas works to determine when exactly these writers stopped transcribing what they actually observed in America and started giving imaginary accounts of their experiences.
KeywordsLiterature; France; François-René de Chateaubriand; Indigenous peoples of the Americas; Lezay; New World; United States
PublisherPenn State University Press
Publication date and placeUniversity Park, PA, 2018-05-15
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900