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    Muriel Rukeyser, America, and the "Melville Revival"

    Gander, Catherine (2010) Muriel Rukeyser, America, and the "Melville Revival". Journal of American Studies, 44 (4). pp. 759-775. ISSN 0021-8758

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    Whilst Muriel Rukeyser's poetic affinity with Walt Whitman is generally acknowledged, the close relation of her work and poetic sensibility to the thought and writing of Herman Melville has somehow gone relatively unnoticed, and almost wholly unexamined. In 1918, Van Wyck Brooks called for the creation of a usable past that would energize America by recasting its cultural tradition. His plea addressed the need to rebuild a national heritage via the rediscovery of culturally "great" figures. By the late 1930s, many scholars and writers had answered the call, and the new discipline of American studies was beginning to take shape, aided by a reclamation of one of the country's greatest, most neglected, writers - Herman Melville. This was also the period in which Rukeyser "came of age"; a time when political and international conflicts and economic crises generated both the stark, documentary representation of present social realities and the drive to retrieve or reconstruct a more golden age that might mobilize a dislocated nation. The following article examines the importance of Melville to Rukeyser's work, and situates her within the "Melville revival" as an important figure in the movement throughout the first half of the twentieth century to reconstruct an American cultural character.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Literary criticism; Fear; Seas; Lyric poetry; Images; War; Poetry; American studies; Sea water; Truth; Humanities; Multidisciplinary; Politics in literature; Political science literature; Analysis; American culture; American history; Politics; Cultural background; American literature;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 11442
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Catherine Gander
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 15:48
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of American Studies
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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