What are the relationships between the books we read and the communities we share? Common Things explores how transatlantic romance revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth century influencedGCoand were influenced byGCoemerging modern systems of community. Drawing on the work of Washington Irving, Henry Mackenzie, Thomas Jefferson, James Fenimore Cooper, Robert Montgomery Bird, and Charles Brockden Brown, the book shows how romance promotes a distinctive aesthetics of belongingGa mode of being in common tied to new qualities of the singular. Each chapter focuses on one of these common thingsGthe stain of race, the GpropertyG of personhood, ruined feelings, the genre of a text, and the event of historyGand examines how these peculiar qualities work to sustain the coherence of our modern common places. In the work of Horace Walpole and Edgar Allan Poe, the book further uncovers an importantG and never more timelyGalternative aesthetic practice that reimagines community as an open and fugitive process rather than as a collection of common things.
Fordham University Press
Romance and the Aesthetics of Belonging in Atlantic Modernity