Download e-book for kindle: Abolition's Public Sphere by Robert Fanuzzi

By Robert Fanuzzi

ISBN-10: 0816640890

ISBN-13: 9780816640898

ISBN-10: 0816640904

ISBN-13: 9780816640904

Echoes of Thomas Paine and Enlightenment notion resonate during the abolitionist circulation and within the efforts of its leaders to create an anti-slavery analyzing public. In Abolition's Public Sphere Robert Fanuzzi seriously examines the writings of William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Henry David Thoreau, and Sarah and Angelina Grimke and their mammoth abolition exposure campaign-pamphlets, newspapers, petitions, and public gatherings-geared to an viewers of white male voters, loose black noncitizens, girls, and the enslaved. together with provocative readings of Thoreau's Walden and of the symbolic house of Boston's Faneuil corridor, Abolition's Public Sphere demonstrates how abolitionist public discourse sought to reenact eighteenth-century eventualities of revolution and democracy within the antebellum period. Fanuzzi illustrates how the dissemination of abolitionist tracts served to create an "imaginary public" that promoted and provoked the dialogue of slavery. in spite of the fact that, through embracing Enlightenment abstractions of liberty, cause, and development, Fanuzzi argues, abolitionist method brought aesthetic issues that challenged political associations of the general public sphere and triumphing notions of citizenship. Insightful and thought-provoking, Abolition's Public Sphere questions regular models of abolitionist background and, within the procedure, our realizing of democracy itself. Robert Fanuzzi is an affiliate professor of English at St. John's collage, ny.

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After all, since it is of such an important concern of the human race, the intended constitution . . 51 This lucid and beautiful passage might serve as an epitaph for the abolition movement precisely because it pays tribute to its historical predicament. The pamphleteering, the public meetings, the call for rational and disinterested discussion, and above all the providential belief in political progress all were too old, so to speak, for the antebellum antislavery struggle; they could not save the movement from the depredations of the class-based, racially segregated, gender-exclusive slugfest of the Jacksonian public sphere, and the abolitionists came too late to deploy them.

Both Thoreau and Douglass (the latter speciWcally in his oratory) in this sense saw antislavery as it is, not as it was or as it was supposed to be. They found a way out from the abolitionists’ public sphere, adopting a critical position that displaced them from a historical representation of the people and situated them squarely in the present moment. The fact that this position kept Thoreau from afWliating himself with the abolition movement in any other way than to adopt the cause and persona of the fugitive slave is signiWcant in itself, for it meant that he did not intend for his individualized acts of resistance to compose either the traces of citizenship or to reassemble the faculty of civic action.

54 Foucault regards modernity not as an attempt to date a historical moment but as an attempt to come to terms with the time of its own writing, as a “way out” from the serial narration of history itself. He follows Kant’s route of escape straight to the aesthetic discourse of modernity, which he regards as the source of an “attitude” whereby one establishes not only “a mode of relationship . . ”55 In this book, the critical Wgures who would parse the abolitionists’ language of past and future are also those who developed an aesthetic XXXVIII – INTRODUCTION vocabulary for halting their narrative of progress.

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Abolition's Public Sphere by Robert Fanuzzi


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