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Covenant and Republic Historical Romance and the Politics of Puritanism by Philip (Brown University, Rhode Island) Gould

Covenant and Republic Historical Romance and the Politics of Puritanism


Part of the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series


Covenant and Republic Historical Romance and the Politics of Puritanism by Philip (Brown University, Rhode Island) Gould

Philip Gould investigates the cultural politics of historical memory in the early American republic, specifically the historical literature of Puritanism. By situating historical writing about Puritanism in the context of the cultural forces of Republicanism and liberalism, his study reconsiders the emergence of the historical romance in the 1820s, before the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne. This 1997 book not only aids the Americanist recovery of this literary period, but also brings together literary studies of historical fiction and historical scholarship of early Republican political culture; in doing so, it offers a persuasive account of just what is at stake when one reads literature of and about the past.


Gould's Covenant and Republic offers insight not only into significant works that preceded the more often read and discussed historical romances of the nineteenth century but also into the contemporary social and political signficance of these works....a nicely detailed and thorough analysis of very complex issues.

A. James Wohlpart, Atlantic Review ...this study will become the handbook for reading the romances of the 1820's. It will also serve as an example of how to manage the absorbing questions of how contestants in the culture wars of the early republic fashioned national memory to promote their values, and how certain terms in these memorializations took on greatly ramified, even contradictory significances...

David S. Shields, American Studies ...this careful project stands out as a quite useful addition to reimagining the politics of gender and rewriting the romance of Puritan origins in the fraught period of the 1820's. Its periodization works successfully to produce clarity and detail in the analysis of some of the most profound legend makers of nineteenth century America.

Shirley Samuels, Novel: Affective Politics ...the book is a highly specialized study of language in a specific period of American literary hsitory, the 1780's to the 1830's, before Nathaniel Hawthorne rewrote all the rules and redefined the historical romance of New England... Gould's study is many faceted.

Mason I. Lowance, Jr., William & Mary Quarterly ...Gould has so masterfully shown us...that post-Revolutionary America was clearly a time of change--in politics, in the social construction of virtue, in language, and in meaning--and with such protean spirit, the past as well as the present were subject to endless possibilites of the New Word.

The New England Quarterly Gould's analyses of particular romances as contributors to the debate over civic republicanism yield new and sophisticated readings.

John McWilliams, Nineteenth-Century Literature An ambitious and well-researched first book that encompasses an immense body of historiography and fiction, it reconfigures scholarship on early national culture in important ways. These contributions will no doubt earn Covenant and Republic respected place in the canon of American culture studies.

Carolyn L. Karcher, Modern Philology

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

11th June 2009


Philip (Brown University, Rhode Island) Gould

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Cambridge University Press


292 pages


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