EDINBURGH STUDIES IN TRANSATLANTIC LITERATURESSeries Editors: Susan Manning & Andrew Taylor, University of Edinburgh
With the end of the Cold War and the burgeoning of a global culture, the premises upon which Area Studies were based have come into question. Starting from the assumption that the study of American literatures can no longer operate on a nation-based or exceptionalist paradigm, the books in this new series work within a comparative framework to interrogate place-based identities and monocular visions. The authors attempt instead to develop new paradigms for literary criticism in historical and contemporary contexts of exchange, circulation and transformation. Edinburgh Studies in Transatlantic Literatures seeks uniquely to further the critical, theoretical and ideational work of the developing field of transatlantic literary studies. Philanthropy in British and American Fiction.
'The author is right on the cutting edge of a rather important trend. Certainly sentimentalism, as a nexus of philosophy and aesthetics, has been fruitful ground for about fifteen years, now. The fact that few literary critics have included philanthropy as a central part of the discussion is something of a surprise. I think this treatment is timely and will be very useful in advancing our understanding of the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment on American culture broadly, and literary culture more narrowly.'Gregg Camfield, Professor of English, University of the Pacific
During the 19th century the U.S. and Britain came to share an economic profile unparalleled in their respective histories. This book suggests that this early high capitalism came to serve as the ground for a new kind of cosmopolitanism in the age of literary realism, and argues for the necessity of a transnational analysis based upon economic relationships of which people on both sides of the Atlantic were increasingly conscious. The nexus of this exploration of economics, aesthetics and moral philosophy is philanthropy. Pushing beyond reductive debates over the benevolent or mercenary qualities of industrial era philanthropy, the following questions are addressed: what form and function does philanthropy assume in British and American fiction respectively? What are the rhetorical components of a discourse of philanthropy and in which cultural domains did it operate? How was philanthropy practiced and represented in a period marked by self-interest and rational calculation? The author explores the relationship between philanthropy and literary realism in novels by Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Eliot, and William Dean Howells, and examines how each used the figure of philanthropy both to redefine the sentiments that informed social identity and to refashion their own aesthetic practices.The heart of this study consists of two comparative sections: the first contains chapters on contemporaries Hawthorne and Dickens; the second contains chapters on second-generation realists Eliot and Howells in order to examine the altruistic imagination at a culminating point in the history of literary realism.