- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
available for shipping or prepaid pickup only
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860by Jane Tompkins
Synopses & Reviews
What makes a literary classic? In "Sensational Designs" Jane Tompkins argues that it is not the intrinsic merit of a text, but rather the circumstances of its writing. Against the modernist belief that art, in order to be art, must be free from propaganda, Tompkins contends that writers like Brockden Brown, Cooper, Stowe, and Warner wrote in order to alter the face of the social world, not to elicit aesthetic appreciation.Thus, the value and significance of the novels, for readers of their time, depended on precisely those characteristics that formalist criticism has taught us to deplore: stereotyped characters, sensational plots, and cliched language.
This challenging book works towards a redefinition of literature and literary study. The texts the author examines are viewed not as works of art embodying enduring themes, but as attempts to redefine the social order.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -227) and index.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like
Arts and Entertainment » Art » General