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Strange Talk :The Politics of Dialect Literature in Gilded Age America

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Strange Talk :The Politics of Dialect Literature in Gilded Age America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Late-nineteenth-century America was crazy about dialect: vernacular varieties of American English entertained mass audiences in "local color" stories, in realist novels, and in poems and plays. But dialect was also at the heart of anxious debates about the moral degeneration of urban life, the ethnic impact of foreign immigration, the black presence in white society, and the female influence on masculine authority. Celebrations of the rustic raciness in American vernacular were undercut by fears that dialect was a force of cultural dissolution with the power to contaminate the dominant language.

In this volume, Gavin Jones explores the aesthetic politics of this neglected "cult of the vernacular" in little-known regionalists such as George Washington Cable, in the canonical work of Mark Twain, Henry James, Herman Melville, and Stephen Crane, and in the ethnic writing of Abraham Cahan and Paul Laurence Dunbar. He reveals the origins of a trend that deepened in subsequent literature: the use of minority dialect to formulate a political response to racial oppression, and to enrich diverse depictions of a multicultural nation.

Synopsis:

Strange Talk explores America's fascination with dialect--and the perceptions and politics of dialect--near the turn of the 20th century. From Mark Twain to Henry James to Melville, Strange Talk shows how the culture and politics of dialect contributed to a fear of social contamination, but more importantly, how literature cast new light on racial oppression.

Synopsis:

"[Jones] links obscure forays into dialectology with familiar canonical works of literature in surprising and innovative ways. He also has some astute insights into the politics of language in this country—a topic as current now as it was during the period about which he writes."—Shelly Fisher Fishkin, University of Texas, Austin

About the Author

Gavin Jones is Assistant Professor of English at Stanford University.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520214217
Author:
Jones, Gavin R.
Publisher:
University of California Press
Author:
Jones, Gavin
Location:
Berkeley :
Subject:
English language
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Linguistics
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
Literature and society
Subject:
Race in literature
Subject:
Politics and literature
Subject:
Local color in literature
Subject:
Regionalism in literature
Subject:
Ethnic groups in literature
Subject:
Dialect literature, American.
Subject:
Black English in literature.
Subject:
African Americans in literature
Subject:
American
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
vol. 6, no. 40.
Publication Date:
19991031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
299
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.75 in 15 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Strange Talk :The Politics of Dialect Literature in Gilded Age America New Trade Paper
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Product details 299 pages University of California Press - English 9780520214217 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Strange Talk explores America's fascination with dialect--and the perceptions and politics of dialect--near the turn of the 20th century. From Mark Twain to Henry James to Melville, Strange Talk shows how the culture and politics of dialect contributed to a fear of social contamination, but more importantly, how literature cast new light on racial oppression.
"Synopsis" by ,
"[Jones] links obscure forays into dialectology with familiar canonical works of literature in surprising and innovative ways. He also has some astute insights into the politics of language in this country—a topic as current now as it was during the period about which he writes."—Shelly Fisher Fishkin, University of Texas, Austin
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