The Inverted Compass: Geography and the Ethics of Authorship in Nineteenth-Century America

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/238672
Title:
The Inverted Compass: Geography and the Ethics of Authorship in Nineteenth-Century America
Author:
Nurmi, Tom
Issue Date:
2012
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Embargo:
Dissertation Not Available (per Author's Request)
Abstract:
The Inverted Compass traces the influence of geography on early American writing. Maps, quadrants, and compasses are at the heart of America’s most celebrated stories, and these geographic tools shaped how Americans understood themselves and their relationship to the landscape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But the emerging discipline also provided writers a way to address the young Republic’s most pressing political and ethical problems. The word geography itself - from the Greek geo (earth) and graphia (writing) - articulates the central paradox. Mapping, even as it claims to represent the world, continuously produces it. Literary works follow a similar logic. The Inverted Compass argues that certain early American writers recognized the parallels between mapping and writing and confronted their political implications through narrative fiction. These writers imagined counter-spaces. They created alternate geographies. They inverted the compass. Their allegories, hoaxes, and satires sharpened readers’ awareness of the role of writing and rhetoric in law and government, directing attention to the often-obscured ethical responsibilities related to Westward expansion and the treatment of minority bodies in nineteenth-century America. The Inverted Compass examines the work of Jefferson, Poe, Melville, and Twain alongside exploration narratives, maps, journals, ship logs, field manuals, land surveys, city plans, political cartoons, spelling primers, court cases, land laws, and Congressional documents to uncover the patterns of reading that guide the spatial imagination and its material products.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Melville; narrative ethics; Poe; Twain; English; Jefferson; literary geography
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dryden, Edgar A.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleThe Inverted Compass: Geography and the Ethics of Authorship in Nineteenth-Century Americaen_US
dc.creatorNurmi, Tomen_US
dc.contributor.authorNurmi, Tomen_US
dc.date.issued2012en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.releaseDissertation Not Available (per Author's Request)en_US
dc.description.abstractThe Inverted Compass traces the influence of geography on early American writing. Maps, quadrants, and compasses are at the heart of America’s most celebrated stories, and these geographic tools shaped how Americans understood themselves and their relationship to the landscape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. But the emerging discipline also provided writers a way to address the young Republic’s most pressing political and ethical problems. The word geography itself - from the Greek geo (earth) and graphia (writing) - articulates the central paradox. Mapping, even as it claims to represent the world, continuously produces it. Literary works follow a similar logic. The Inverted Compass argues that certain early American writers recognized the parallels between mapping and writing and confronted their political implications through narrative fiction. These writers imagined counter-spaces. They created alternate geographies. They inverted the compass. Their allegories, hoaxes, and satires sharpened readers’ awareness of the role of writing and rhetoric in law and government, directing attention to the often-obscured ethical responsibilities related to Westward expansion and the treatment of minority bodies in nineteenth-century America. The Inverted Compass examines the work of Jefferson, Poe, Melville, and Twain alongside exploration narratives, maps, journals, ship logs, field manuals, land surveys, city plans, political cartoons, spelling primers, court cases, land laws, and Congressional documents to uncover the patterns of reading that guide the spatial imagination and its material products.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectMelvilleen_US
dc.subjectnarrative ethicsen_US
dc.subjectPoeen_US
dc.subjectTwainen_US
dc.subjectEnglishen_US
dc.subjectJeffersonen_US
dc.subjectliterary geographyen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDryden, Edgar A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAiken, Susan Hardyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHogle, Jerrolden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberJones, J. P., IIIen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNathanson, Tenneyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDryden, Edgar A.en_US
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