The Federalist Criticism: Publius And The Narrative Voice - Essay

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison

Albert Furtwangler (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Furtwangler, Albert. “The Form of the Federalist.” In The Authority of Publius: A Reading of the Federalist Papers, pp. 45-79. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984.

[In the following excerpt, Furtwangler discusses the figure of Publius as a coherent voice, distinct from the individual opinions or arguments of Madison, Hamilton, or Jay, and examines the theme of candor—a polite, deferential generosity—found throughout The Federalist Papers.]


From these beginnings, a new figure emerged before the eyes of readers in 1787. A public figure who might seem to represent a single, thoughtful author, he was in...

(The entire section is 5401 words.)

Philip Abbott (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Abbott, Philip. “What's New in the Federalist Papers?” Political Research Quarterly 49, no. 3 (September 1996): 525-45.

[In the following essay, Abbott focuses on Publius as a storyteller, using narrative as a central means for advancing his argument in The Federalist Papers.]

The centrality of the Federalist Papers in American political thought is indisputable. Even the most severe critics of Publius grant its monumental importance as a “new explanation of politics, of whose beauty and summetry the Federalists themselves only gradually became aware” and as a “masterly statement” in support of a literal or at least ideological coup...

(The entire section is 8915 words.)

James Jasinski (essay date 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Jasinski, James. “Heteroglossia, Polyphony, and The Federalist Papers.Rhetoric Society Quarterly 27, no. 1 (Winter 1997): 23-46.

[In the following essay, Jasinski uses the literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin's notions of heteroglossia and polyphony to examine the rhetoric of The Federalist Papers.]


In the last few decades historians have devoted significant attention to the language used by political actors during the American revolution and founding. The ground-breaking work of Bailyn, Pocock, and Wood established the importance of language as a motivating force, conceptual...

(The entire section is 10956 words.)