In the United States, the period between the termination of the 18th century and the commencement of the 19th century is characterized by the struggle to forge a national identity that was uniquely American in its independence from European influence. American writers of this period understood that the creation of an American literature distinct from the influence of Europe and shaped by the social, political, and natural environment of the United States would provide the country with the first vestiges of the autonomous cultural identity it so desperately desired. However, this work proved to be problematic, as with little financial or even cultural incentive to develop this American literature, many of these writers, once so enthusiastic in assisting in the development of this fledgling nation, had resorted to writing in a style imitative of European literary models. Though largely unknown to or ignored by contemporary scholarship, American author George Lippard dutifully remained at the vanguard of the struggle known as the Subversive movement, convinced of his belief that literature is integral to the development of a national identity. Permeated with the scandalous, the sensational, and the gothic, Lippard’s Subversive style is as wild, savage, and unrefined as the fledgling nation that served as its inspiration. Ultimately, though it may seem as though George Lippard and his Subversive utilization of the gothic and the sensational seem to be on the periphery of American literature, they actually had a powerful influence over the evolution of American literature as well as American cultural identity as a whole.
Decay and Perversion in Jacksonian America: George Lippard’s The Quaker City.
Undergraduate Review, 10, 97-103.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol10/iss1/21
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