The American Elsewhere
Adventure and Manliness in the Age of Expansion
ISBN10: 0700624783 ISBN13: 9780700624782 Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas Published: Sep 22 2017 Pages: 393 Weight: 1.66lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.50" Depth: 1.25" Language: English
"Adventure is a common thread in the mythology of the American West. In the era of manifest destiny, mountain men and frontiersmen blazed trails across the continent in ways that still loom large in the American imagination. The life of mountain man HughGlass, for example, has inspired numerous books and movies, including Oscar-winner The Revenant. In folklore and popular culture, these men are typically portrayed as bold adventurers and American heroes. By contrast, scholars, especially in the past fifty years, tend to view them as villains, agents of violent conquest. In The American Elsewhere, Jimmy Bryan proposes a third view, a middle ground that considers the influence of Romanticism on the emotional motivations behind both the violent actions andself-aggrandizing views of adventurers in antebellum America. Bryan bases his study on "adventurelogues," novels and memoirs about the West written in the decades before the Civil War. He argues that these writings reveal the Romantic emotionalism adventurers brought to their time in the West as they sought escape from the Market Revolution and an Eastern world they perceived as dull and stifling. While Romantic artists and philosophers encountered the sublime in nature, these adventurers found the sublime in dangerous, violent interactions. They sought out situations where they could act boldly, experience profound emotions, and demonstrate their masculinity. And by then publishing accounts and fictionalizations of their adventures, these men created narratives of American manhood that viewed brutality, avarice, and chauvinism as noble--narratives that supported conquest and colonialism."--Provided by publisher.