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Frontiers of historical imagination : narrating the European conquest of native America, 1890-1990 /
Kerwin Lee Klein.
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1997.
xi, 377 p.
0520204638 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1997.
0520204638 (cloth : alk. paper)
general note
Based on the author's thesis.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Kerwin Lee Klein is Assistant Professor of History at University of California, Berkeley.
Flap Copy
"A thorough and breathtaking review of modern historiography, anthropology, and literary criticism as they relate to the American frontier."--Robert V. Hine, author ofSecond Sight
Flap Copy
"A thorough and breathtaking review of modern historiography, anthropology, and literary criticism as they relate to the American frontier."--Robert V. Hine, author of Second Sight
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-01:
Klein's big, sprawling, intimidating, and ultimately rewarding book ostensibly has a single story to tell--the historiography of the European conquest of the US--but is in fact more an attempt to intertwine, juxtapose, and analyze two very large and complex themes. The first is the central story of western American history--the frontier and the conquest of the continent. The second is the philosophy, or theory and methods, guiding the narrative forms used over the past century to tell the story of the American past. The book is presented in four parts. The first surveys the philosophical background of US history. The second examines Frederick Jackson Turner's archetypal frontier mythology and his followers and critics in the historical profession. The third looks at how anthropologists and ethnologists told this story over the past century, and the fourth examines the issue from the perspective of the discipline of American studies. The result is a mixture of intelligent, interdisciplinary, original, wide-ranging, erudite work and difficult, detailed, postmodern chic. This combination will not be to everyone's liking, but serious students of both western history and American historiography will want to work their way through it. Graduate, faculty. K. Blaser; Wayne State College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 1998
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Long Description
The American frontier, a potent symbol since Europeans first stepped ashore on North America, serves as the touchstone for Kerwin Klein's analysis of the narrating of history. Klein explores the traditions through which historians, philosophers, anthropologists, and literary critics have understood the story of America's origin and the way those understandings have shaped and been shaped by changing conceptions of history. The American West was once the frontier space where migrating Europe collided with Native America, where the historical civilizations of the Old World met the nonhistorical wilds of the New. It was not only the cultural combat zone where American democracy was forged but also the ragged edge of History itself, where historical and nonhistorical defied and defined each other. Klein maintains that the idea of a collision between people with and without history still dominates public memory. But the collision, he believes, resounds even more powerfully in the historical imagination, which creates conflicts between narration and knowledge and carries them into the language used to describe the American frontier. In Klein's words, "We remain obscurely entangled in philosophies of history we no longer profess, and the very idea of 'America' balances on history's shifting frontiers."
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Introduction: History, Narrative, Westp. 1
The Language of Historyp. 13
What Was the Frontier Thesis?p. 13
Histories and Hypothesesp. 22
Explaining Historyp. 31
Systems and Paradigmsp. 37
Narrative Explanationsp. 47
From Spirit to Systemp. 58
An American Dante: Frederick Jackson Turnerp. 58
Frontier Dialecticsp. 78
The Folly of Comedyp. 88
Provincial Politicsp. 92
John Dewey and the Frontier Tragedyp. 99
Pragmatism's Conception of Emplotmentp. 108
Merle Curti's Corporate Frontierp. 113
Time Immemorialp. 129
The Indian Trade in Universal Historyp. 129
William Christie MacLeod and the Tragic Savagep. 144
Ruth Benedict and the Cultural Turnp. 148
Ramon's Frontier Talep. 153
Friedrich Nietzsche and the American Indiansp. 161
The End of History: A World without Culturep. 170
The Science of Acculturationp. 174
Ethno-Historyp. 183
The Double Plot of Edward H. Spicerp. 186
The Trouble with Tragedyp. 195
Margins, Borders, Boundariesp. 205
The End of Ethnohistoryp. 209
Histories of Languagep. 213
The Fourth Frontier of Henry Nash Smithp. 213
Culture versus Art: Leo Marxp. 229
Myth, Method, and Manlinessp. 238
Queer Frontiersp. 245
Dialectica Fronterizos: Gloria Anzalduap. 261
A Note on Formp. 271
Postwesternp. 273
The Predicament of Culturep. 278
The Problem of Historyp. 287
Afterword: Language Is Storyp. 297
Notesp. 301
A Bibliographic Notep. 367
Indexp. 373
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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