Download Ruins, Revolution, and Manifest Destiny: John Lloyd Stephens by William E. Lenz PDF

By William E. Lenz

As American literary and cultural students think again the principles of U.S. family with different countries, Ruins, Revolution, and happen future: John Lloyd Stephens Creates the Maya locates in Stephens’s immensely renowned nineteenth-century shuttle narratives (1841, 1843) the resources of yankee perceptions of primary the United States and contributes on to present redefinitions of yank nationalism, appear future, and hemispheric imperialism. The examine demanding situations sleek readers to check severely the cultural stereotypes that the 19th century embraced and that regularly shaped the foundation for nationwide coverage. by way of examining Stephens heavily, by means of finding him inside a bigger cultural discussion approximately such an important concerns as nationwide identification, race family, occur future, and ancient illustration, we will be able to greater comprehend earlier and current nationwide attitudes towards peoples and countries south of the U.S. territorial border. expecting a number of the concerns that may provide upward push to the conflict with Mexico after which to the U.S. Civil struggle, Stephens sees the racial panorama of relevant the USA in stark different types. Writing trip narratives approximately vital the US and analyzing narratives written via an American touring in imperative the US are acts of cultural imperialism that lead to either author and reader implicitly owning critical the United States, soaking up its Mayan heritage and modern variety into an American nationwide mythology. principal the United States turns into, via Stephens’s acts of exploring and inscribing, an creative extension of the USA and the Maya, the unique New international american citizens. Ruins, Revolution, and happen Destiny encourages twenty-first-century readers to untangle those usually conflicting acts of exploration, inscription, and mind's eye.

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Extra resources for Ruins, Revolution, and Manifest Destiny: John Lloyd Stephens Creates the Maya

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Indb 24 5/25/13 1:35 PM PERSONAL IDENTITY , NATIONAL MYTHOLOGY : WRITING THE SELF AS AN AMERICAN HALF - DOLLAR | 25 to blend superstition with religion, and which therefore has developed a religious fanaticism that the priests and political leaders (like Carrera) can tap for secular goals. To Stephens, this fanaticism is most frightening, for it results in mob violence, slaughter, and massacre. Once worked up, it is literally uncontrollable. To become a bit more postcolonial, we might see Stephens grouping all nonwhite peoples in Central America together as Other.

It seems not improbable that Stephens felt concern for American society as he witnessed the uprising of previously enslaved peoples and the “retributive justice” (II, 135) he saw exacted by dark savages upon their former white masters. The fact that the Central Americans are Indians (and not Africans) allows Stephens to entertain these parallels implicitly, for there is not an explicit one-to-one correspondence between cultures. For Stephens and his American readers, this displacement allows them to consider at a distance the problems within their own culture, if only to dismiss them.

It will not admit of any palliation. . ”2 Do American black slaves have a similar “natural hatred” (I, 249) of whites that is simmering beneath the surface of American society? Is a national slave rebellion, like Nat Turner’s Virginia revolt of 1831, in which 55 whites were killed, possible? indb 25 5/25/13 1:35 PM 26 | RUINS , REVOLUTION , AND MANIFEST DESTINY Likewise, the women Stephens encounters cause him to consider the roles and status of women in American society. Stephens meets women at different levels of society, in different cultures, performing different customs, who challenge stereotypes and excite his imagination.

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