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Alcohol, Public Perception, and Narrative Design in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

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dc.contributor.advisor Scheckel, Susan en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Newman, Andrew en_US
dc.contributor.author Boluch, Kristin en_US
dc.contributor.other Department of English en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-20T16:52:53Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-20T16:52:53Z
dc.date.issued 2014-12-01 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11401/77544 en_US
dc.description 264 pgs en_US
dc.description.abstract Scholarship concerning alcohol representations in nineteenth-century American literature and culture has predominately focused on ' temperance discourse' (meaning temperance ideology, an anti-alcohol moral culture, prohibitory laws and regulations, etc.). Generally, narratives understood to represent this discourse assume that the depicted consumers and producers of alcohol are excluded from the ideally imagined community. In Modern literature, by contrast, alcohol use is understood to represent cultural rebellion by individual characters (as seen in Hemingway's community of ex-patriots, or Fitzgerald's Jazz Age lost generation). The dissertation challenges assumptions of this chronological progression which begins in representations of alcohol's social banishment. Though nineteenth-century American literature, and temperance fiction specifically, depicts the alcohol user as someone who shares neither the assumed values of narrators and readers, nor the sense of community that derives from shared ideological inclusions, on closer analysis such stories do not necessarily treat drinkers' and distributors' anti-social status as a matter of course. Formal analyses of narrative constructs reveal a dramatic tension between criteria of social inclusion and exclusion surrounding the subjects of drink, drinkers and drinking establishments, a tension not always resolved, and sometimes not resolvable. The mere representation of alcohol use does not automatically imply a ' temperance discourse' as traditionally understood. This dissertation suggests that literature in the nineteenth century invokes but does not necessarily assume temperance discourse as a means of structuring narrative tension between individual characters and ideologically-defined communities. Whereas some stories stage a righteous condemnation of specific behaviors, others may probe community/national standards and assumptions, leading to entirely different results. Looking at a range of alcohol-themed works including texts by George Cheever, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Stephen Crane, Paul Laurence Dunbar and James Corrothers, this study argues that the representation of alcohol in nineteenth-century American literature does not automatically promote temperance's moral ideologies and the exclusion of drinking characters from narratively defined societies. Instead, alcohol-themed literary texts just as often question (and even challenge) temperance tropes in order to examine the nature of ideological inclusions and exclusions across a range of American communities. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work is sponsored by the Stony Brook University Graduate School in compliance with the requirements for completion of degree. en_US
dc.format Monograph en_US
dc.format.medium Electronic Resource en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh American literature en_US
dc.subject.other Alcohol, Narrative theory, Nineteenth Century literature, Reader response, Temperance en_US
dc.title Alcohol, Public Perception, and Narrative Design in Nineteenth-Century American Literature en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.mimetype Application/PDF en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Newman, Andrew en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Manning, Peter en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Scheckel, Susan en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Warner, Nicholas en_US

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