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  • http://hdl.handle.net/10048/1193
  • Genre and the representation of violence in American Civil War texts by Edmund Wright, John William De Forest, and Henry James
  • Zenari, Vivian Alba
  • en
  • American literature
    American Civil War, 1861-1865
    Genre
    Violence
    Representation
    Henry James
    J.W. (John William) De Forest
    The Narrative of Edmund Wright
    Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty
    "The Story of a Year"
    "Poor Richard"
    "A Most Extraordinary Case"
    Nineteenth century
    Popular literature
    History--United States
  • Jun 29, 2010 4:12 PM
  • Thesis
  • en
  • Adobe PDF
  • 1899532 bytes
  • This dissertation investigates the relationship between genre and the representation of war-time violence in five texts written during and shortly after the United States Civil War (1861-1865). The texts are The Narrative of Edmund Wright (1864), John William De Forest’s Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty (1867), and three short stories by Henry James—“The Story of a Year” (1865), “Poor Richard” (1867), and “A Most Extraordinary Case” (1868). These texts deal with the theme of war violence through generic mechanisms associated with the spectrum of writings often dichotomized as romance and realism. The main theoretical approach to genre depends on a distinction between criterial theories of genre and contingency theories of genre. Criterial theories emphasize the shared characteristics of literary texts: that is, criterial theories of genre are classificatory in orientation. Contingency theories emphasize the ways in which social forces influence the act of classification: contingency theories of genre, in other words, concentrate on the notion that genres are social constructs. This dissertation maintains, in line with contingency theory, that genre is affected by the social, political and cultural circumstances of the period in which the genre operates; as a result, this dissertation uses documents from and about the American Civil War to substantiate its claims. The work of Alice Fahs, David Reynolds, and John Frow has influenced the approach to genre theory and to nineteenth-century American literary history.
  • Doctoral
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Department of English and Film Studies
  • Fall 2010
  • Bucknell, Bradley (English and Film Studies)
    Watson, W.G. (English and Film Studies)
  • Wallace, Jo-Ann (English and Film Studies/Women’s Studies)
    Romeo, Sharon (History and Classics)
    Bartley, William (English, University of Saskatchewan)

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