- 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 conception of American literature as philosophy. It aims to present a reading of Frederick Douglass's thinking on examples and the philosophical freight they carry, and describes the relevant works of William Wells Brown. The article explores how Douglass navigated concerns about the relationship between theory and example in “Self-Made Men,” and argues that literary critics should be careful to avoid the doctrinaire application of all philosophical ideas and theoretical models.
Elizabeth Duquette is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Gettysburg College. She is the author of Loyal Subjects: Bonds of Nation, Race, and Allegiance in Nineteenth-Century America.
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