Abstract

This essay examines thematic and structural "forgetting" in Susanna Rowson's 1798 Reuben and Rachel. As the novel moves closer to the postrevolutionary era of its publication, its second volume shifts abruptly from genealogy to sentimental romance, and its eponymous characters actively forget the transatlantic, hemispheric, and hybrid ancestry that the novel heretofore existed to construct and that would otherwise destabilize their emergent national identity. I locate Reuben and Rachel's sibling intimacy at the heart of the contradiction between the second volume's forgetfulness and both the first volume's and Rowson's stated authorial commitments to the transmission of historical memory.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 183-195
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-13
Open Access
No
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