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Literary landscaping re-reading the politics of places in late nineteenth-century regional and utopian literature /

by Hartig, Andrea S.

Abstract (Summary)
LITERARY LANDSCAPING: RE-READING THE POLITICS OF PLACES IN LATE NINETEENTH-CENTURY REGIONAL AND UTOPIAN LITERATURE by Andrea Sant Hartig My dissertation, “Literary Landscaping: Re-reading the Politics of Places in Late Nineteenth-Century Regional and Utopian Literature” explores questions about how places themselves perform in or help facilitate performances of resistance and the creation of geographic subjectivity. My chief concern at the outset of the project was to defend and demonstrate the usefulness of place as a thematic focus in the rereading of nineteenth-century American literature. I argue for the value of reading landscapes in literature as conscientiously constructed, as acts of thematic cartography. As a kind of mapping, these landscapes can be understood as political elements in the text that should be examined, explained, historicized and questioned. By moving my thematic lens through first a “regional” text, Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona (1884) and then a “utopian” text, Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood; Or, the Hidden Self (1902-03), I develop a methodology drawn from regional literary theories and cartographic criticism, a thematic lens that migrates beyond its prescribed borders illuminating the latent possibilities for reciprocal cross-genre and transdisciplinary reading practices and illuminating several profound gaps within regional and utopian literary criticism such as the exclusion of “outsider” texts in regionalism and the absence of African American and Native American texts from the utopian literary canon. Taken as a whole, these chapters work to illustrate the following arguments. First, this project argues for the value of reading landscapes in literature as conscientiously constructed, as acts of thematic cartography. As a kind of mapping, these landscapes can be understood as political elements in the text that should be examined, explained, historicized and questioned. Second, the political power of literary landscapes is a shifting and subjective narrative element. The relative familiarity or distance of a reader to the landscape, the spatiotemporal representation, is a functional component of whether or not its constructed-ness, its political (re)presentation of location will be legible to the reader. Third, this project as a whole illustrates the problems and decisions inherent in the activity of literary criticism bent on genre creation and maintenance. By critiquing genre, this dissertation also works to challenge the unquestioned institutionalization of particular reading practices.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Miami University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:utopian literature regional landscape in utopias geography english women authors

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