Doctrine and Difference: Readings in Classic American Literature aims to expand and deepen the inquiry begun in the volume from 2007. Beginning with an essay on the avowedly Puritan poetry of Anne Bradstreet and ending with two not-quite-secular novels from late in the 19th century, this volume seeks to uncover the religious and philosophical meanings deeply embedded in so much of 19th century American literature, and then, importantly, to identify and analyze the techniques by which the "doctrines" are differentiated into imaginative literature. Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville—and yes, even Howells and James—are driven by powerful thematic intentions. But they do not preach: they dramatize. And, as they talk their way through their existential issues, they often talk to one another: yes, no, maybe, ok but not so fast. Stressing the idea of a shared, poet-Puritan inheritance, the new Doctrine and Difference means to re-confirm the vitality of literary history and, in particular, the importance of reading the classic texts of American literature in context and in relation.

chapter 1|16 pages

Making Conscience, Trusting God

The (Almost) Weaned Affections of Anne Bradstreet

chapter 2|18 pages

Cosmopolitan and Provincial

Hawthorne and the Reference of American Studies

chapter 3|10 pages

“Supernal Loveliness” and “Fantastic Foolery”

The Esthetic Dimension in Poe and Hawthorne

chapter 4|31 pages

Consciousness and Ascription

Emerson and the Scandal of the Subject

chapter 5|24 pages

“Life within the Life”

Sin and Self in Hawthorne's New England

chapter 6|19 pages

The South Seas in Melville

Genre, Myth (and Sex) in Typee, Omoo, Mardi

chapter 7|18 pages

“Artificial Fire”

Melville and the Mythology of “Ethan Brand”

chapter 8|23 pages

Inheritance, Repetition, Complicity, Redemption

Sin and Salvation in The House of the Seven Gables

chapter 9|24 pages

Charity and Its Discontents

Pity and Politics in Melville's Short Fiction

chapter 10|36 pages

“Friendship of the Seasons”

Climax and Confirmation in the Plot of Walden

chapter 11|27 pages

“Our Conversation with Nature”

Emerson's Cave and Plato's “Allegory”

chapter 12|17 pages

“Mean or Unamiable People”

Manners, Morals (and Grace?) in The Rise of Silas Lapham and The American