- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Shifts, Zigzags, Impacts
- Antipodean American Geography: Washington Irving's “Globular” Narratives
- The Art of Chaos: Community and African American Literary Traditions
- Are “American Novels” Novels? <i>Mardi</i> and the Problem of Boring Books
- Reading Race Through Disability: Slavery and Agency in Mark Twain's <i>Pudd'nhead Wilson</i> and “Those Extraordinary Twins”
- The Invention of Mexican America
- Creole Kinship: Privacy and The Novel in the New World
- Looking at State Violence: Lucy Parsons, José Martí, and Haymarket
- Transatlantic vs. Hemispheric: Toni Morrison's Long Nineteenth Century
- Temporality, Race, and Empire in Cooper's <i>The Deerslayer</i>: The Beginning of the End
- The Visible and Invisible City: Antebellum Writers and Urban Space
- Animals and The Formation of Liberal Subjectivity in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
- Archives of Publishing and Gender: Historical Codes in Literary Analysis
- The Novel As Board Game: Homiletic Identification and Forms of Interactive Narrative
- Skepticism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Philosophy
- On The Redundancy of “Transnational American Studies”
- How To Read: Regionalism and the <i>Ladies' Home Journal</i>
- Literature and The News
- Reading Minds in the Nineteenth Century
- Making An Example: American Literature As Philosophy
- Abolition and Activism: The Present Uses of Literary Criticism
- Whose Protest Novel? <i>Ramona</i>, The <i>Uncle Tom's Cabin</i> of the Indian
- Nineteenth-Century American Literature Without Nature? Rethinking Environmental Criticism
- “Action, Action, Action”: Nineteenth-Century Literature for Twenty-First-Century Citizenship?
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines the American novel and the problem of boring books. It investigates what would happen if the assumption about the existence of novel as a literary genre were treated as a critical problem. The article analyzes Herman Melville's 1849 novel Mardi and a Voyage Thither to demonstrate that in order to make sense of “bad” novels, one might be well served to suspend the categories required for deductive conclusions.
Jordan Alexander Stein teaches in the English department of the University of Colorado at Boulder. He coedited a special issue of Early American Literature on “Methods for the Study of Religion” (with Justine S. Murison) as well as a forthcoming essay collection on early African American print culture (with Lara Langer Cohen).
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