American Palestine: Melville, Twain and the Holy Land Mania
By: Hilton Obenzinger (author)Paperback
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In the nineteenth century, American tourists, scholars, evangelists, writers, and artists flocked to Palestine as part of a "Holy Land mania." Many saw America as a New Israel, a modern nation chosen to do God's work on Earth, and produced a rich variety of inspirational art and literature about their travels in the original promised land, which was then part of Ottoman-controlled Palestine. In American Palestine, Hilton Obenzinger explores two "infidel texts" in this tradition: Herman Melville's Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1876) and Mark Twain's The Innocents Abroad: or, The New Pilgrims' Progress (1869). As he shows, these works undermined in very different ways conventional assumptions about America's divine mission. In the darkly philosophical Clarel, Melville found echoes of Palestine's apparent desolation and ruin in his own spiritual doubts and in America's materialism and corruption. Twain's satiric travelogue, by contrast, mocked the romantic naivete of Americans abroad, noting the incongruity of a "fantastic mob" of "Yanks" in the Holy Land and contrasting their exalted notions of Palestine with its prosaic reality.
Obenzinger demonstrates, however, that Melville and Twain nevertheless shared many colonialist and orientalist assumptions of the day, revealed most clearly in their ideas about Arabs, Jews, and Native Americans. Combining keen literary and historical insights and careful attention to the context of other American writings about Palestine, this book throws new light on the construction of American identity in the nineteenth century.
Preface: Manias and Materialities ix Acknowledgments xix PART ONE: Excavating American Palestine Chapter One Holy Lands and Settler Identities 3 Chapter Two George Sandys: "Double Travels" and Colonial Encounters 14 Chapter Three "Christianography" and Covenant 24 Chapter Four Reading and Writing Sacred Geography 39 PART Two: "The Fatal Embrace of the Deity": Herman Melville's Pilgrimage to Failure in Clarel Chapter Five "A Profound Remove": Annihilation and Covenant 63 Chapter Six "That Strange Pervert": The Puritan Zionist 84 Chapter Seven "The Great Jewish Counterfeit Detector": Warder Cresson, "Carnal" Hermeneutics, and Zion's Body 114 Chapter Eight Ungar "His Way Eccentric": The Confederate Cherokee's Map of Palestine 138 PART THREE: The Guilties Abroad: Mark Twain's Comic Appropriation of the Holy Land in Innocents Abroad Chapter Nine Authority and Authenticity 161 Chapter Ten The Jaffa Colonists and Other Failures 177 Chapter Eleven "A White Man So Nervous and Uncomfortable and Savage" 190 Chapter Twelve "Rejected Gospels": The Boyhood of Jesus 198 Chapter Thirteen Reverence and Race 216 Chapter Fourteen The "Cultivated Negro" and the Curse of Ham 227 Chapter Fifteen Desolating Narrations: Tom Sawyer's Crusade 248 Chapter Sixteen Desolating Narrations: "Der Jude Mark Twain" 262 Notes 275 Index 311
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- ID: 9780691009735
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