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Theses Doctoral

Common Place: Rereading 'Nation' in the Quoting Age, 1776-1860

Santiago, Anitta C.

This dissertation examines quotation specifically, and intertextuality more generally, in the development of American/literary culture from the birth of the republic through the Civil War. This period, already known for its preoccupation with national unification and the development of a self-reliant national literature, was also a period of quotation, reprinting and copying. Within the analogy of literature and nation characterizing the rhetoric of the period, this study translates the transtextual figure of quotation as a protean form that sheds a critical light on the nationalist project. This project follows both how texts move (transnational migration) and how they settle into place (national naturalization). Combining a theoretical mapping of how texts move and transform intertextually and a book historical mapping of how texts move and transform materially, the dissertation traces nineteenth century examples of the culture of quotation and how its literary mutability both disrupts and participates in the period's national and literary movements. The first chapter engages scholarship on republican print culture and on republican emulation to interrogate the literary roots of American nationalism in its transatlantic context. Looking at commonplace books, autobiographies, morality tales, and histories, it examines how quotation as a practice of memory impression functions in national re-membering. The second chapter follows quotation in early nineteenth-century national and literary contests of space and fashioning, the movement for international copyright in the culture of reprinting and the calls for a national literature. The third chapter considers questions of appropriation, assimilation, and translation in hemispheric poetic interactions within the context of the annexation and Manifest Destiny. The last chapter examines quotation in the antebellum period where, in the absence of a unifying authority, the fragments of quotation offer a way to tell the story of the nation

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Thesis Advisors
Posnock, Ross
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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