Oliver Wendell Holmes and the Culture of Conversation

Synopsis

Peter Gibian explores the key role played by Oliver Wendell Holmes, senior, in what was known as America's "Age of Conversation". Holmes' multivoiced writings can serve as a key to open up the closed interiors of Victorian America, whether in saloons or salons, parlors or clubs, hotels or boarding houses. Combining social, intellectual, medical, legal and literary history with close textual analysis, and setting Holmes in dialoge with Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Fuller and Alcott, Gibian radically redefines the context for our understanding of the major literary works of the American Renaissance.