This book calls for a new iconography of region that unseats New England's status as cultural center of the United States and originary metaphor for national identity. No single territorial or political axis can adequately describe the complex regional relationships that comprise the nation, Anne Goldman argues. Goldman's arguments question critical sectionalism as extensively as they do regional divisions, by blurring generic distinctions, by reading across literary periods, and by juxtaposing writers who explore the same set of social issues during the same historical moment, but who are conventionally located in separate literary traditions: sentimental literature, the African American novel, literary modernism, early Mexican fiction.

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