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The War on Words – Slavery, Race, and Free Speech in American Literature - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The War on Words: Slavery, Race, and Free Speech in American Literature

Michael T. Gilmore


How did slavery and race impact American literature in the nineteenth century? This book argues that they were the carriers of linguistic restriction, and writers from Frederick Douglass to Stephen Crane wrestled with the demands for silence and circumspection that accompanied the antebellum fear of disunion and the postwar reconciliation between the North and South. Proposing a new interpretation of nineteenth-century American literature, this book examines struggles over permissible and impermissible utterance in works ranging from Thoreau's “Civil Disobedience” to Henry James's The Bostonia ... More

Keywords: slavery, race, American literature, nineteenth century, disunion, postwar reconciliation, North, South, lynching, freedom of expression

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780226294131
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226294155.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael T. Gilmore, author