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The Aesthetics and Politics of the Crowd in American Literature by Mary (Concordia University, Montreal) Esteve

The Aesthetics and Politics of the Crowd in American Literature


Part of the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series


The Aesthetics and Politics of the Crowd in American Literature by Mary (Concordia University, Montreal) Esteve

Mary Esteve provides a study of crowd representations in American literature from the antebellum era to the early twentieth century. As a central icon of political and cultural democracy, the crowd occupies a prominent place in the American literary and cultural landscape. Esteve examines a range of writing by Poe, Hawthorne, Lydia Maria Child, Du Bois, James, and Stephen Crane among others. These writers, she argues, distinguish between the aesthetics of immersion in a crowd and the mode of collectivity demanded of political-liberal subjects. In their representations of everyday crowds, ranging from streams of urban pedestrians to swarms of train travellers, from upper-class parties to lower-class revivalist meetings, such authors seize on the political problems facing a mass liberal democracy - problems such as the stipulations of citizenship, nation formation, mass immigration and the emergence of mass media. Esteve examines both the aesthetic and political meanings of such urban crowd scenes.


'The Aesthetics and Politics of the Crowd offers both an authoritative and informative analysis of the role of the crowed in American literature as well as a sequence of original and compelling readings of canonical authors.'
Journal of American Studies

About the Author

Mary Esteve is Assistant Professor in the English Department at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work has appeared in ELH, American Literary History, and Genre.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st May 2007


Mary (Concordia University, Montreal) Esteve

More books by Mary (Concordia University, Montreal) Esteve
Author 'Like for Like'


Cambridge University Press


276 pages


Literary studies: general
Philosophy: aesthetics



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