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American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture

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This innovative cultural history investigates an intriguing, thrilling, and often lurid assortment of sensational literature that was extremely popular in the United States in 1848--including dime novels, cheap story paper literature, and journalism for working-class Americans. Shelley Streeby uncovers themes and images in this "literature of sensation" that reveal the pro This innovative cultural history investigates an intriguing, thrilling, and often lurid assortment of sensational literature that was extremely popular in the United States in 1848--including dime novels, cheap story paper literature, and journalism for working-class Americans. Shelley Streeby uncovers themes and images in this "literature of sensation" that reveal the profound influence that the U.S.-Mexican War and other nineteenth-century imperial ventures throughout the Americas had on U.S. politics and culture. Streeby's analysis of this fascinating body of popular literature and mass culture broadens into a sweeping demonstration of the importance of the concept of empire for understanding U.S. history and literature. This accessible, interdisciplinary book brilliantly analyzes the sensational literature of George Lippard, A.J.H Duganne, Ned Buntline, Metta Victor, Mary Denison, John Rollin Ridge, Louisa May Alcott, and many other writers. Streeby also discusses antiwar articles in the labor and land reform press; ideas about Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua in popular culture; and much more. Although the Civil War has traditionally been a major period marker in U.S. history and literature, Streeby proposes a major paradigm shift by using mass culture to show that the U.S.-Mexican War and other conflicts with Mexicans and Native Americans in the borderlands were fundamental in forming the complex nexus of race, gender, and class in the United States.


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This innovative cultural history investigates an intriguing, thrilling, and often lurid assortment of sensational literature that was extremely popular in the United States in 1848--including dime novels, cheap story paper literature, and journalism for working-class Americans. Shelley Streeby uncovers themes and images in this "literature of sensation" that reveal the pro This innovative cultural history investigates an intriguing, thrilling, and often lurid assortment of sensational literature that was extremely popular in the United States in 1848--including dime novels, cheap story paper literature, and journalism for working-class Americans. Shelley Streeby uncovers themes and images in this "literature of sensation" that reveal the profound influence that the U.S.-Mexican War and other nineteenth-century imperial ventures throughout the Americas had on U.S. politics and culture. Streeby's analysis of this fascinating body of popular literature and mass culture broadens into a sweeping demonstration of the importance of the concept of empire for understanding U.S. history and literature. This accessible, interdisciplinary book brilliantly analyzes the sensational literature of George Lippard, A.J.H Duganne, Ned Buntline, Metta Victor, Mary Denison, John Rollin Ridge, Louisa May Alcott, and many other writers. Streeby also discusses antiwar articles in the labor and land reform press; ideas about Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua in popular culture; and much more. Although the Civil War has traditionally been a major period marker in U.S. history and literature, Streeby proposes a major paradigm shift by using mass culture to show that the U.S.-Mexican War and other conflicts with Mexicans and Native Americans in the borderlands were fundamental in forming the complex nexus of race, gender, and class in the United States.

30 review for American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    A fascinating look at the literature of the 1840s and 1850s (and beyond) of the relationship between Mexico and the United States. This includes looking at the role of empire building and the discussion of what race, nationality and religion would mean with the US conquest of parts of northern Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Streeby's discussion of gender, especially of the portrayal of a masculine United States and feminine Mexico, was my favorite part and how international romances wer A fascinating look at the literature of the 1840s and 1850s (and beyond) of the relationship between Mexico and the United States. This includes looking at the role of empire building and the discussion of what race, nationality and religion would mean with the US conquest of parts of northern Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Streeby's discussion of gender, especially of the portrayal of a masculine United States and feminine Mexico, was my favorite part and how international romances were representative of a larger debate over the future of the West.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Holland

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ross

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Donovan

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Ermer

  6. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  10. 4 out of 5

    Martha

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  13. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mario

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joo Ok

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ecbarchives

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia Elsherbeiny

  19. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeff L

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan Mcgee

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mario

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sector C

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Williams

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

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