The Temple and the Forum: The American Museum and Cultural Authority in Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe and Whitman

The Temple and the Forum: The American Museum and Cultural Authority in Hawthorne, Melville, Stowe and Whitman

By: Les Harrison (author)Hardback

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Description

The rise of the museum as a cultural institution in 19th-century America brought with it many contested notions - of what artifacts merited preservation or display and the role of museums in public life and the cultural marketplace. In ""The Temple and the Forum"", Les Harrison excavates the shared concerns and practices of 19th-century American museums and the literary productions of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Walt Whitman. The various representational strategies of museums suggested to these authors solutions to problems of literary and political representation. In probing the practices of three of the 19th-century's most significant museums - Charles Wilson Peale's Philadelphia Museum (1785-1843), P. T. Barnum's American Museum (1841-1865), and the United States National Museum at the Smithsonian (1879-present) - Harrison identifies two dominant models in the struggle over what museums should be: the temple, an institution for the projection and protection of official culture, and the forum, its populist, marketplace counterpart. Merging historical research with textual analysis, Harrison examines manifestations of the temple and the forum in the works of these authors and reconnects their works to the larger literary and cultural marketplace in which they circulated. What emerges is a veiled chapter in the history of American culture: the widening of literary and cultural distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate cultural forms, republicanism and democracy, and the literary and the popular - the temple and the forum.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780817315634
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 296
  • ID: 9780817315634
  • ISBN10: 0817315632

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