Cover image for The uses of variety : modern Americanism and the quest for national distinctiveness
Title:
The uses of variety : modern Americanism and the quest for national distinctiveness
Author:
Bramen, Carrie Tirado, 1964-
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
380 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780674003088
Format :
Book

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Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS374.D45 B73 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

At the turn of the century, amid the excesses of the Gilded Age, variety became a key notion for Americans - a sign of national progress and development, reassurance that the modern nation would not fall into monotonous dullness or disorderly chaos. Carrie Tirado Bramen pursues this idea through the works of a wide range of regional and cosmopolitan writers, journalists, theologians and politicians who rewrote the narrative of American exceptionalism through a celebration of variety. Exploring cultural and institutional spheres ranging from intra-urban walking tours in popular magazines to the 1893 World's Parliament of religions in Chicago, she shows how the rhetoric of variety became naturalized and nationalized as quintessentially American and inherently democratic. By focusing on the uses of the term in the work of William James, Anna Julia Cooper, W.E.B. Du Bois, Hamlin Garland and Wong Chin Foo, among many others, Bramen reveals how the perceived innocence and goodness of variety were used to construct contradictory and mutually exclusive visions of modern Americanism.


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Abbreviations
Introduction: Americanizing Variety
1 The Ideological Formation of Pluralism
1 William James and the Modern Federal Republic
2 Identity Culture and Cosmopolitanism
2 The Aesthetics of Diversity
3 The Uneven Development of American Regionalism
4 The Urban Picturesque and Americanization
3 Heterogeneous Unions
5 Biracial Fictions and the Mendelist Allegory
6 East Meets West at the World's Parliament of Religions Afterword: In Defense of Partiality
Notes
Works Cited
Acknowledgments
Index

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