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Department of English Language and Literature

  • Hemispheric Regionalism: Romance and the Geography of Genre

Gretchen Woertendyke publishes the book, "Hemispheric Regionalism: Romance and the Geography of Genre"

In this broad-ranging study, Woertendyke reconfigures U.S. literary history as a product of hemispheric relations

Gretchen Woertendyke, Associate Professor and McCausland Fellow, has published the book, Hemispheric Regionalism: Romance and the Geography of Genre, with Oxford University Press. Hemispheric Regionalism brings together a rich archive of popular culture, fugitive slave narratives, advertisements, political treatises, and fiction to construct a new literary genealogy. At the center of this history is romance, a popular and versatile genre uniquely capable of translating the threat posed by the Haitian Revolution, or the expansionist possibilities of Cuban annexation, for a rapidly increasing readership. Through romance, she traces imaginary and real circuits of exchange and remaps romance’s position in nineteenth-century life and letters as irreducible to, nor fully mediated by, a concept of nation. The energies associated with Cuba and Haiti, manifest destiny and apocalypse, bring historical depth to an otherwise short national history. As a result, she argues, romance becomes remarkably influential in inculcating a sense of new world citizenry.

Anna Brickhouse writes, “Hemispheric Regionalism delivers powerfully, making an important shift away from ‘novel and nation to romance and region’—and allowing us, paradoxically, to better understand the emergence and development of U. S. literary nationalism. Full of nuanced readings and theoretical rigor, this book will matter—and will change the way we think about American romance, the trajectory of U. S. literature, and the future of hemispheric studies.”

For more information, please visit the publisher’s webpage.

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