Cover

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-21

It is difficult to imagine a more memorable and self-conscious description of public visibility in early American culture than the one given by Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography (1771–88) when he enters Philadelphia for the first time in 1723...

PART I . Distinction and the Face

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Chapter 1. Discerning Characters

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pp. 25-54

Over the past fifteen years, there has been an increasing amount of scholarship in the humanities devoted to discussing the cultural and social implications of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century physiognomy in Europe.1 Dror Wahrman, for example, has read the..

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Chapter 2. Reading and Breeding

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pp. 55-72

Civility appears as an integral, yet complicated, feature of the political and social transformations of the pre- and postrevolutionary periods in America. 1 As a social practice, civility was a prominent feature in the signifi cation of gentility, and its...

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Chapter 3. The Face of Seduction

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pp. 73-120

In the preceding chapter, I suggested that the discourse surrounding Chesterfieldianism during the postrevolutionary era was part of a more general struggle over how distinction would be imagined to operate within the social space of early America and more broadly how culture, specifically literature, might participate in that struggle. Chesterfield’s Letters downwardly ...

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Chapter 4. The Face of the Public

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pp. 121-152

The previous chapter discussed how a number of postrevolutionary seduction novels imagined social spaces in which the visibility of distinction was relocated from the genteel yet voluntary performances of the polite individual to the permanent, involuntary, and...

PART II . The Changing Face of the Novel

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Chapter 5. The Invisible Aristocrat

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pp. 155-185

The previous four chapters traced the face’s relationship to the social perception of character in early American culture with particular attention paid to how transatlantic discourses for reading the face (such as civility and physiognomy) and cultural forms for representing..

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Chapter 6. The Physiognomic Fallacy

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pp. 186-230

The previous chapter explored how the physiognomic distinction of the face in the social perception of character was appropriated and transformed in the early fiction of James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper’s seduction fiction reproduced the transposition in the social perception of character to the physiognomic features of...

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Epilogue

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pp. 231-234

The physiognomic fallacy—that opposition between a model of character read from performance and one read from the permanent and involuntary features of the face—would fi nd new life within the context of the performative and corporeal components...

Notes

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pp. 235-276

Bibliography

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pp. 277-309

Index

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pp. 311-316

Acknowledgments

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pp. 317-319