Eclipse of Empires: World History in Nineteenth-Century U.S. by Patricia Jane Roylance

By Patricia Jane Roylance

Eclipse of Empires analyzes the nineteenth-century American fascination with what Patricia Jane Roylance calls “narratives of imperial eclipse,” texts that depict the surpassing of 1 nice civilization via another.

Patricia Jane Roylance’s relevant declare in Eclipse of Empires is that historic episodes of imperial eclipse, for instance Incan Peru yielding to Spain or the Ojibway to the French, heightened the worries of many American writers approximately particular intranational social difficulties plaguing the state on the time—race, classification, gender, faith, economics. Given the eventual dissolution of serious civilizations formerly stricken by those exact same difficulties, many writers, not like those that with a bit of luck emphasised U.S. exceptionalism, exhibited either an nervousness in regards to the balance of yankee society and a constant perform of self-scrutiny in opting for the nationwide defects that they felt may well precipitate America’s decline.

Roylance stories, between different texts, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Water-Witch (1830) and The Bravo (1831), which deal with the eclipse of Venice by means of ny urban as a maritime energy within the eighteenth century; William Hickling Prescott’s Conquest of Peru (1847), which responds to frequent anxiousness approximately communist and abolitionist threats to the U.S. approach of non-public estate via depicting Incan tradition as a protocommunist society doomed to failure; and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The tune of Hiawatha (1855), which resists the full eclipse of Ojibwa tradition via incorporating Ojibway phrases and tales into his poem and by means of depicting the land as completely marked by way of their occupation.

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