Chapter

American Literature Internationale: Translation, Strike, and the Time of Political Possibility

Russ Castronovo

in Beautiful Democracy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226096285
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226096308 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226096308.003.0003
American Literature Internationale: Translation, Strike, and the Time of Political Possibility

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This chapter considers several connected variants of “the international,” ranging from issues of translation to the specter of the worldwide revolt of the working class. Its archive is the most traditional and literary of all the chapters in this book, with chunks of analysis devoted to Walt Whitman and William Dean Howells. At the same time, however, the competing attention that the chapter gives to texts about dynamite, bomb making, and socialist revolution leads it unapologetically in a different direction, toward the radical dissolution of tradition. These diverging trajectories each gain initial impetus in aesthetic forms associated with crowds, collective pleasure, and shared pain. Such spectacles and feelings gave proof of the organic unity of national culture even as they veered toward undeniably foreign elements that stood in anarchic opposition to social order. This skid toward the foreign represents a road seldom taken in United States cultural politics.

Keywords: crowds; collective pleasure; shared pain; working class; Walt Whitman; William Dean Howells; dynamite; bomb making; socialist revolution; cultural politics

Chapter.  16788 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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