Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Poetics of National and Racial Identity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature


Part of Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: August 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521120968

£ 35.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • John D. Kerkering's study examines the literary history of racial and national identity in nineteenth-century America. Kerkering argues that writers such as DuBois, Lanier, Simms, and Scott used poetic effects to assert the distinctiveness of certain groups in a diffuse social landscape. Kerkering explores poetry's formal properties, its sound effects, as they intersect with the issues of race and nation. He shows how formal effects, ranging from meter and rhythm to alliteration and melody, provide these writers with evidence of a collective identity, whether national or racial. Through this shared reliance on formal literary effects, national and racial identities, Kerkering shows, are related elements of a single literary history. This is the story of how poetic effects helped to define national identities in Anglo-America as a step toward helping to define racial identities within the United States. This highly original study will command a wide audience of Americanists.

    • One of the first books of its kind on this subject
    • Racial identity is a continually important topic in American literature
    • Wide-ranging, should have an appeal outside American literature
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'While we are used to thinking about language representing an identity, Kerkering forces us to acknowledge the extent to which poetic forms create these identities. He supports this assertion through a set of nuanced readings that move eloquently from discursive context to textual analysis.' American Literature

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521120968
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Poetics of National Identity:
    1. 'We are five and forty': meter and national identity in Sir Walter Scott
    2. 'Our sacred union', 'our beloved Apalachia': nation and genius loci in Hawthorne and Simms
    Part II. The Poetics of Racial Identity:
    3. 'Of me and of mine': the music of racial identity
    4. 'Blood will tell': literary effects and the diagnosis of racial instinct
    Conclusion: the conversation of identities

  • Author

    John D. Kerkering, Loyola University, Chicago

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.