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Jean-Jacques Rousseau in American Literature- Traces, Influence, Transformation 1760-1860

A Paradigm of French-German Culture Emanation in America

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Frederick W. Dame

Jean-Jacques Rousseau in American Literature discusses how, where, and to what extent Rousseau's philosophy can be traced in the first one-hundred years of American literature. It examines this problem by using original quotations from such works as Emile, Du Contrat Social, and Discours sur l'Inégalité, and compares them with examples from sixteen American authors and the Connecticut Wits without forcing them into a desired picture. The author shows thought overlap and thought disagreement. The spectrum ranges from the concept of literature and literary interpretation to the relationship between literature and politics; from the political literature of the American colonial period to the literature of national identity; from American romanticism to the American renaissance. The role Germany played in the transfer of French culture to America is argued.
Contents: Concept of Literature - Politics and Literature - Native America - Deconstructionism and Rousseau - Nature - Human Nature - Society - Social Contract - Originality - Untutored Genius - Literary Independence - Education - Reiseweg of Rousseau's thought; its Influence, Immanence, and Transformation - German Role in Cultural Transfer.