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The Mediating Nation

Late American Realism, Globalization, and the Progressive State

Nathaniel Cadle

Publication Year: 2014

By the early twentieth century, as Woodrow Wilson would later declare, the United States had become both the literal embodiment of all the earth's peoples and a nation representing all other nations and cultures through its ethnic and cultural diversity. This idea of connection with all peoples, Cadle argues, allowed American literary writers to circulate their work internationally, in turn promoting American literature and also the nation itself. Reexamining the relationship between Progressivism and literary realism, Cadle demonstrates that the narratives constructed by American writers asserted a more active role for the United States in world affairs and helped to shift global influence from Europe to North America.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-xii

One of the chief pleasures of undertaking research is having the opportunity to share ideas with—and allow those ideas to take shape in conversation with—colleagues, both near and far. I am fortunate that my most enthusiastic interlocutors are also the nearest: those I see on an almost...

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Introduction: Transnational Circulation in the Age of Realism and Progressivism

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pp. 1-28

On April 20, 1915, as the First World War continued to divide most European nations into armed camps, Woodrow Wilson justified his administration’s commitment to U.S. neutrality in a speech delivered at the annual Associated Press luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria. The...

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1. From Cosmopolitanism to World-Salvation: The Transnational Imaginary and the Idea of the Progressive State

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pp. 29-57

Between 1900 and 1910, the Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that was widely regarded as the epitome of cultural authority in the United States, published eleven articles that, in one way or another, explicitly invoked the concept of cosmopolitanism.1 Of these eleven articles...

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2. Local Color, World Literature, and the Transnational Turn in William Dean Howells’s Fiction and Criticism

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pp. 58-95

In June 1895, Harper’s Weekly published what may constitute the first comprehensive historical overview of the rise of local color in literature: a two-part essay on dialect by William Dean Howells. The essay may have been prompted, at least in part, by the relatively recent death of...

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3. Improper Wealth Getting: Henry James, the Rise of Finance Capitalism, and the Emerging Global Cultural Economy

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pp. 96-126

In A Hazard of New Fortunes, what prompts Lindau’s outburst that the state is the solution to existing social problems is a discussion about the dangers of monopolies that Colonel Woodburn starts at Dryfoos’s dinner party. Tellingly, it is the socially conservative Colonel Woodburn...

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4. Migration Systems and Literary Production: The Global Routes of Abraham Cahan and Knut Hamsun

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pp. 127-160

Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage, taken in 1907 and first published in 1911, has become one of the most iconic images from the age of mass migration to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In recent years, Stieglitz’s photograph has graced the cover of the...

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5. Freedom amongst Aliens: Jack London, Lafcadio Hearn, and the Alternative Modernity of Japan

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pp. 161-191

Although most Americans tended to fixate on the so-called “new immigrants” from Southern and Eastern Europe when they discussed immigration in the early twentieth century, as the previous chapter demonstrated, immigration from other regions of the world was by...

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Coda: Modernism, Multiculturalism, and the Legacy of the Mediating Nation

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pp. 192-200

In the years following the First World War, as American literary critics began to assess the career of the recently deceased Henry James, the author’s decades-long expatriation surfaced as a major problem—what, in The Pilgrimage of Henry James (1925), Van Wyck Brooks called “the problem...


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pp. 201-228


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pp. 229-246


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pp. 247-253

E-ISBN-13: 9781469618470
E-ISBN-10: 1469618478
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469618456
Print-ISBN-10: 1469618451

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 1 halftone
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 885208771
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Mediating Nation

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • American literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Realism in literature.
  • Progressivism in literature.
  • Multiculturalism in literature.
  • Literature and transnationalism.
  • Modernism (Literature) -- United States.
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