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Palgrave Macmillan

Sibling Romance in American Fiction, 1835-1900

ISBN 9781137287182
Publication Date February 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Sibling Romance in American Fiction, 1835-1900 establishes the narrative of sibling love as a culturally significant tradition in nineteenth-century American fiction. Focusing on novels of the antebellum and post-Civil War eras, this book examines fictional siblings, particularly in the context of national crisis, from the threat of South Carolina's secession from the national union in the 1830s to the post-Reconstruction crisis of racial segregation in the 1890s. Drawing upon historical study, literary analysis, philosophical methods, and psychoanalysis, this thought-provoking book suggest that by significantly shifting the focus of their narratives from courtship to sibling love, these novels contribute to historical conversations about affiliation in such tumultuous contexts as sectional divisions, debates over slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

Emily E. VanDette is Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Fredonia, USA. She earned her doctorate at the Pennsylvania State University, with a focus on nineteenth-century American women's literature.

1. Sibling Pedagogy: The Brother-Sister Ideal in Domestic Advice and Children's Periodical Literature
2. Remembering Resistance and Resilience: The Revolutionary Sibling Romances of Sedgwick, Simms, and Kennedy
3. 'She carried the romance of sisterly affection too far': Sibling Love in Caroline Lee Hentz's Ernest Linwood
4. 'A whole, perfect thing': Sibling Bonds and Anti-slavery Politics in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Dred
5. Reconstructing Siblings in the African American Nadir: Siblings in Post-Reconstruction Novels by Frances E. W. Harper, Pauline Hopkins, and Charles Chesnutt
Epilogue: Sibling Romance in/and the Canon; Or, the Ambiguities


"Sibling Romance in American Fiction, 1835–1900 offers an expansive and engaging look at the brother-sister bond in nineteenth-century American literature." - American Studies
"Van Dette is the first scholar to explore the important issue of brother-sister ties in nineteenth-century American literature. She argues convincingly that domestic fiction writers used the sibling relationship to address the tensions between independence and solidarity during the nation's long crisis of union. Lucid and accessible, this book will be of interest to scholars of American literature, American history, American studies, and family studies." - C. Dallett Hemphill, Ursinus College, USA
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