Messing with Romance

American Poetics and Antebellum Southern Fiction

by Zeno Ackermann (Author)
Monographs X, 229 Pages


Messing with Romance is a reinvestigation of southern literary history and a case study in the potentials of genre criticism. Offering contextualized readings of novels produced by representatives of the southern elite between 1824 and 1854, the study traces a development that is as fascinating as it is contradictory: from pretences of «realism» to bold fantasies of fiction’s socially transformative power, and eventually toward the collapse of the discourse of «romance» to which southern novelists had contributed with such desperate determination. Along the way, prominent critical clichés come under scrutiny: firstly, that antebellum southern literature followed a clear-cut course of radicalization; secondly, that literary conventions can easily be identified as the determining formats of ideological discourses.


X, 229
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2012 (June)
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2012. X, 229 pp.

Biographical notes

Zeno Ackermann (Author)

Zeno Ackermann teaches literary and cultural studies at the Department of English at Freie Universität Berlin, where he is involved in a research project on the reception of Shakespeare in post-war Germany. He works on aesthetics and ideology, on problems of remembering war and genocide, and on the interrelationships between the contemporary novel and audiovisual mass media.


Title: Messing with Romance