Read e-book online River of Dreams: Imagining the Mississippi before Mark Twain PDF

By Thomas Ruys Smith

Even within the many years earlier than Mark Twain enthralled the area along with his evocative representations of the Mississippi, the river performed an important position in American tradition and recognition. in the course of the antebellum period, the Mississippi acted as a strong image of America's belief of itself—and the world's notion of the US. As Twain understood, "The Mississippi is easily worthy analyzing about." Thomas Ruys Smith's River of desires is an exam of the Mississippi's position within the antebellum mind's eye, exploring its cultural place in literature, artwork, idea, and nationwide life.

Presidents, politicians, authors, poets, painters, and foreign celebrities of each kind skilled the Mississippi in its Golden Age. They left a unprecedented selection of representations of the river of their wake, photos that advanced as the US itself replaced. From Thomas Jefferson's imaginative and prescient for the Mississippi to Andrew Jackson and the rowdy river tradition of the early 19th century, Smith charts the Mississippi's transferring significance within the making of the kingdom. He examines the bills of ecu tourists, together with Frances Trollope, Charles Dickens, and William Makepeace Thackeray, whose perspectives of the river have been seriously stimulated by means of the realm of the steamboat and plantation slavery.

Smith discusses the turning out to be value of visible representations of the Mississippi because the antebellum interval improved, exploring the ways that perspectives of the river, rather gigantic relocating panoramas that toured the realm, echoed notions of take place future and the westward circulate. He inspires the river within the past due antebellum years as a spot of crime and secret, in particular in renowned writing, and such a lot particularly in Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man. An epilogue discusses the Mississippi throughout the Civil warfare, whilst ownership of the river turned important, symbolically in addition to militarily. The epilogue additionally offers an advent to Mark Twain, a made of the antebellum river global who used to be to resurrect its imaginitive capability for a post-war state and bring an iconic Mississippi that also flows via a large and fertile floodplain in American literature.

From empire construction within the Louisiana buy to the trauma of the Civil warfare, the Mississippi's dominant symbolic meanings tracked the basic forces working in the kingdom. As Smith indicates during this groundbreaking paintings, the tale of the imagined Mississippi River is the tale of antebellum the US itself.

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River of Dreams: Imagining the Mississippi before Mark Twain (Southern Literary Studies) by Thomas Ruys Smith

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