“Negative Liberties combines historical, literary, cultural, and political interests as it includes a historical study and critique of ‘individualism,’ excellent literary chapters devoted to fresh readings of Thomas Pynchon and Toni Morrison, and a political examination of the relationship of liberty and slavery. Inspired by Sacvan Bercovitch, Cyrus Patell’s book is a thoughtful contribution to American Studies.”—Werner Sollors, Harvard University
“Negative Liberties is a sophisticated study of the appeal of the ideology of individualism in the United States. It is a vast and widely considered topic, but Patell has something new to say about it. His unique contribution comes out of his understanding of the human reliance on storytelling and the creation of narratives. Ethical and deeply engaging, this book adds an important new dimension to ideological criticism in the United States.”—Priscilla Wald, author of Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form
About the Author
Cyrus R. K. Patell is Associate Professor of English at New York University. He is the author of Joyce’s Use of History in “Finnegans Wake” and a contributor to the Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 7: Prose Writing, 1940–1990.