Robert E. Abrams argues that in mid-nineteenth-century American writing, new concepts of space and landscape emerge that marked a linguistic and interpretative limit to American expansion. Abrams argues for the radicalness of antebellum writing, the ways in which figures from Hawthorne to Rebecca Harding Davis disputed the naturalizing discourses of mid-nineteenth century society. Whereas previous critics find in antebellum writing a will-towards-closure, a desire to convert chaos into an affirmative, liberal agenda. Abrams contends that authors of the 1840's and 50's deconstructed more than they constructed.
About the Author
Robert E. Abrams is Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington. He has published widely on American literature and culture in journals such as ELH, American Literature, Philological Quarterly, and Nineteenth-Century Literature.