Article

Abolition and Activism: The Present Uses of Literary Criticism

James Dawes

in The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730438
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199730438.013.0021

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Abolition and Activism: The Present Uses of Literary Criticism

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This article examines the relationship between literary critical practice and human rights, and describes the present uses of literary criticism. It analyzes an example of abolitionism and activism as it was conceived and practiced by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison. The article evaluates how our understanding of texts and issues today can be informed by our analysis and understanding of the myths and metaphors of who we are that we have inherited from earlier literatures and movements.

Keywords: literary critical practice; human rights; literary criticism; abolitionism; activism; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Frederick Douglass; William Lloyd Garrison; myths; metaphors

Article.  8334 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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