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2017

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Antebellum Literature

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American Culture Of Servitude: The Problem Of Domestic Service In Antebellum Literature And Culture, Andrea Holliger Jan 2017

American Culture Of Servitude: The Problem Of Domestic Service In Antebellum Literature And Culture, Andrea Holliger

Theses and Dissertations--English

My dissertation argues that domestic service alters a culture’s relationship to the laboring body. I theorize this relationship via popular literary and cultural antebellum texts to explore the effects of servitude as a trope. Methodologically, each chapter reads a literary text in context with social and legal paradigms to 1) demonstrate that servitude undergirds myriad articulations of antebellum power and difference; 2) show how servitude inflects the construction of these paradigms; and 3) trace Americans’ changing relationship to the concept of servitude from the Early Republic through the Civil War.

I begin with James Fenimore Cooper’s The Pioneers ...