Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States

Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States

Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States

Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States

Synopsis

Individualism is arguably the most vital tenet of American national identity: American cultural heroes tend to be mavericks and nonconformists, and independence is the fulcrum of the American origin story. But in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a number of American artists, writers, and educational philosophers cast imitation and emulation as central to the linked projects of imagining the self and consolidating the nation. Tracing continuities between literature, material culture, and pedagogical theory, William Huntting Howell uncovers an America that celebrated the virtues of humility, contingency, and connection to a complex whole over ambition and distinction.

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