By Dana Luciano
2008 Winner, MLA First publication PrizeCharting the proliferation of different types of mourning and memorial throughout a century more and more enthusiastic about their historic and temporal value, Arranging Grief bargains an cutting edge new view of the cultured, social, and political implications of emotion. Dana Luciano argues that the cultural plotting of grief presents a particular perception into the nineteenth-century American temporal imaginary, due to the fact that grief either underwrote the social preparations that supported the nation’s typical chronologies and backed alternative routes of advancing history.Nineteenth-century appeals to grief, as Luciano demonstrates, subtle modes of "sacred time" throughout either spiritual and ostensibly secular frameworks, straight away authorizing and unsettling validated schemes of connection to the prior and the longer term. studying mourning manuals, sermons, memorial tracts, poetry, and fiction by means of Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Apess, James Fenimore Cooper, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Susan Warner, Harriet E. Wilson, Herman Melville, Frances E. W. Harper, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Keckley, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Luciano illustrates the ways in which grief coupled the affective physique to time. Drawing on formalist, Foucauldian, and psychoanalytic feedback, Arranging Grief indicates how literary engagements with grief positioned forth methods of tough deep-seated cultural assumptions approximately background, growth, our bodies, and behaviors.
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Additional resources for Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth-Century America (Sexual Cultures: New Directions from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies)
65 Sentimentality’s inclination toward eternity and transcendence, however, troubles critics seeking to understand the way the appeal of the wound operated in and on historical time. This line of critique is pursued by Lauren Berlant, who expands the terrain of sentimentality, afﬁrming that in a culture lacking a viably rational political public sphere, manifestations of a liberalsentimental consciousness take the place of public culture. That consciousness similarly seeks to privilege an idealized wholeness—not only in the maintenance of the homes, families, and bonds it projects as eternal but more fundamentally in the wish that “identity categories .
Yet the widespread cultural appeal of grief, as I show, also offered reform-minded writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and William Apess a means of contesting the exclusionary time of national life by publicizing the grief it authored. Finally, the chapter closes with a consideration of the way the politicized time imagined in reform movements was distinguished from the prepolitical temporality associated with personal feeling. Examining grief’s appeal to love as the foundation of human relations, I uncover the asynchronic traces buried within consolation literature’s normalization of time through the structures of domestic privacy.
Jacob Bigelow, one of Mount Auburn’s founders, justiﬁed the rural cemetery as best beﬁtted to this type of mortuary pedagogy: The monuments of Mount Auburn mark an earthly sepulchre; but the spot itself, with its abundant and impressive beauties is, as it were, the inscribed Monument of Nature to the neverfading greatness of the supreme Judge of both quick and dead—the invincible Arbiter of our fate, both here and hereafter. Heathen must be that heart which does not worship the Almighty amidst these consecrated frames.