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Traveling south : travel narratives and the construction of American identity  Cover Image Book Book

Traveling south : travel narratives and the construction of American identity / John D. Cox.

Cox, John David. (Author).



"Traveling South is the first major study of how narratives of travel through the antebellum South helped to construct an American national identity during the years between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Drawing on a broad range of texts that includes slave narratives, domestic literature, and soldiers' diaries, as well as more traditional forms of travel writing, John D. Cox extends the boundaries of travel literature both as a genre and as a subject of academic study."
"The writers of these intranational accounts struggled with the significance of travel through a region that was both America and "other." In writings by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur and William Bartram, for example, the narrators create personal identities and express their Americanness through travel that, Cox argues, becomes a defining aspect of the young nation. In the narratives of Frederick Douglass and Solomon Northup, the complex relationship between travel and slavery highlights contemporary debates over the meaning of space and movement.
Both Fanny Kemble and Harriet Jacobs explore the intimate linkings of women's travel and the construction of an ideal domestic space, whereas Frederick Law Olmsted seeks to reform the southern economy through his travel writing. The Civil War diaries of Union soldiers echo earlier themes while concluding that the South should not be transformed in order to become sufficiently "American"; rather, it was and should remain a part of the American nation, regardless of perceived differences."
"Travelers from the northern states who ventured south during the early national period encountered within their nation's borders a place so different from their own as to raise basic questions about nationhood. Our national culture would develop, in large part, out of the struggle to reconcile regional differences over citizenship, race, gender, and class."--Jacket.

Item details

  • ISBN: 9780820327655
  • ISBN: 0820327654
  • Physical Description: 252 pages ; 24 cm
  • Publisher: Athens : University of Georgia Press, ©2005.

Contents / Notes

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 231-241) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Representing America : the American as traveler in the work of J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur and William Bartram -- Moving slaves : Frederick Douglass, Solomon Northup, and the politics of travel in antebellum America -- Domestic travel : the narratives of Fanny Kemble and Harriet Jacobs -- Yeomen all : Frederick Law Olmsted and the consolidation of the American economy and culture -- Tourists with guns (and pens) : Union soldiers and the Civil War South.
Subject: United States > Description and travel > Sources.
Southern States > Description and travel > Sources.
National characteristics, American > History > Sources.
United States > Civilization > 1783-1865 > Sources.
Travelers' writings, American.
Travel in literature.
Southern States > In literature.
National characteristics, American, in literature.
American literature > 1783-1850 > History and criticism.
American literature > 19th century > History and criticism.
American literature.
National characteristics, American.
National characteristics, American, in literature.
Travel in literature.
Travelers' writings, American.
Southern States.
United States.
Nationale identiteit.
USA > Südstaaten (Motiv)
Genre: Sources.
Criticism, interpretation, etc.

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NONFIC 917.304 COX
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