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Sentimental Collaborations: Mourning and Middle Class Identity in Nineteenth-Century America
Mary Louise Kete (au)
Sentimentality (SM) has been a recurring form of cultural narrative that has helped to shape middle-class Amer life. Literary SM, in the form of poetry, is the written trace of a broad cultural discourse that Kete calls “sentimental collaboration” (SC) -- an exchange of sympathy in the form of gifts that estab. common cultural or intellectual ground. She reads the work of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, & Lydia Huntley Sigourney with an eye toward the deployment of SM for the creation of Americ’m., as well as for political & abolitionist ends. The origins of SC are in the activities of people who participated in mourning rituals -- writing poetry, condolence letters, or epitaphs -- to ease their personal grief. Ill.
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