Elayne Antler Rapping (essay date 1967)
SOURCE: “Theory and Experience in Crèvecoeur's America,” in American Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 4, Winter, 1967, pp. 707-18.
[In the following essay, Rapping discusses Crèvecoeur's belief that the newly settled land of America offered an opportunity to test the principles of the Enlightenment.]
We often read that American literature developed late because we lacked a common cultural past, and meaningful conventions and symbols for describing our shared experience. But as early as 1782, with his Letters from an American Farmer, J. Hector St. Jean de Crèvecoeur discovered and made literary use of a very real imaginative past shared by Americans. For...
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