Politics of Voice, The

Liberalism and Social Criticism from Franklin to Kingston

By Malini Johar Schueller

Series: SUNY series in American Literature
Paperback : 9780791408568, 199 pages, February 1992
Hardcover : 9780791408551, 199 pages, February 1992

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This book is an analysis of the social criticism and the political implications of rhetorical strategies in personal-political (nonfictional) narratives by liberal American writers from the 18th century till the 1970s. Using the theories of Mikhail Bakhtin, Schueller examines works by Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Henry James, Henry Adams, Jane Addams, James Agee, Norman Mailer, and Maxine Hong Kingston.

Malini Johar Schueller is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Florida, Gainesville.


"I am very impressed by Schueller's identification and analysis of the generic identity of these disparate texts as well as by her deft handling of the complex issues of the politics within and among them. I think that in itself constitutes a significant contribution to American literary scholarship. The author has done an excellent job of laying out the formal and rhetorical strategies common among these books that she labels as personal-political narratives. " — Russell J. Reising, Marquette University

"Schueller describes the struggle among the authorial (monologic) and destabilizing (dialogic) voices in a collection of well-chosen personal-political narratives running through the history of U. S. literature. She develops a useful distinction between consensus (identified with capitalist conformity) and community (identified with the radical urge for diversity and openness as well as the feminist stress on relationship). And she reveals the strategies by which the authorial voice dominates, appropriates, or suppresses the voices of Others; how it asserts itself in transcendental or unifying languages; and how it is challenged, subverted, destabilized, or drawn into dialogue with the voices of Others. As a result she develops very useful insights and makes important distinctions among the authors, most of whom dominated the canon of American literature. " — Richard Pearce, Wheaton College