This book considers the portrayal of the American national character in the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. It examines Hawthorne's abiding concern with the development of New England from colony to province to republic, and analyses Melville's changing evocation of 'the new American', and the difficulties he faced in sustaining his heady nationalistic faith.
Preface; Introduction: tomorrow's American; Part I. Hawthorne: 1. John Endicott and the fictions of oratory; 2. Narrower souls; 3. The Puritan revolution of 1755; 4. A diminished thing; 5. Broken lines; Part II. Melville: 6. Distrust in confidence; 7. Mirror men; 8. Confidence in distrust; 9. True bridge of sighs; Conclusion: floating at will; Notes; Index.
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