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The Ohio State University Press
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summary
Preaching and the Rise of the American Novel by Dawn Coleman recovers a crucial moment in the history of the intimate yet often contentious relationship between religion and literature. Coleman’s book highlights the intersection of two cultural trajectories in America around 1850, both often downplayed in literary histories: a boom in preaching, associated with the growth of evangelicalism and the country’s oratorical traditions, and the long struggle of the novel, still facing considerable disdain at mid-century, to achieve moral legitimacy and aesthetic autonomy. Before the Civil War, the preacher in the pulpit was the culture’s paradigmatic voice of moral authority, and novelists who wished to establish the moral value of their own storytelling needed to incorporate sermons. This book explores how antebellum ministers sought to preach effective, authoritative sermons and how novelists sought to claim a similar authority through canny representations of preachers, often veiled critiques of actual ministers, and sermonic voice, or a creative reworking of the sound of preaching. Such intense engagement with sermons shaped some of the period’s most interesting and important novels, including The Scarlet Letter, The Quaker City, Moby-Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Clotel. In illuminating how novelists sought to displace traditional religious institutions, Preaching and the Rise of the American Novel reminds readers of the deep connections between Americans’ religious practices and their literature and speaks to how the processes of secularization are often less concerned with rejecting the elements of religion than reimagining them.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. 6-7
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-ix
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. 1. Creating Authority in the Pulpit
  2. pp. 23-45
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  1. 2. The Slow Rise of the Novel in America
  2. pp. 46-67
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  1. 3. The Radical Protestant Preaching of George Lippard
  2. pp. 68-105
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  1. 4. Secularizing the Sermon in The Scarlet Letter
  2. pp. 106-128
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  1. 5. Playing Preacher in Moby-Dick
  2. pp. 129-155
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  1. 6. The Unsentimental Woman Preacher of Uncle Tom's Cabin
  2. pp. 156-173
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  1. 7. The Borrowed Robes of Clotel; or, The President's Daughter
  2. pp. 174-196
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  1. Conclusion: The Lingering Rivalry
  2. pp. 197-206
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 207-258
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 259-283
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 284-293
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  1. Other Works in the Series, Back Cover
  2. pp. 305-306
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780814270042
Related ISBN
9780814212059
MARC Record
OCLC
867741165
Pages
344
Launched on MUSE
2013-11-04
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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