The Office of the Scarlet Letter

The Office of the Scarlet Letter

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qqThe Scarlet Letterq has proved our most enduring classic, q writes Sacvan Bercovitch, qbecause it is the liberal example par excellence of art as ideological mimesis. To understand the office of the A is to see how culture empowers symbolic form, including forms of dissent, and how symbols participate in the dynamics of culture, including the dynamics of constraint.q With an approach that both reflects and contests developments in literary studies, Bercovitch explores these connections from two perspectives: first, he examines a historical reading of the novels unities; and then, a rhetorical analysis of key mid-nineteenth-century issues, at home and abroad. In order to highlight the relation between rhetoric and history, he focuses on the point at which the scarlet letter does its office at last, the moment when Hester decides to come home to America. In qThe Office of qThe Scarlet Letter, qq Bercovitch argues that the process by which the United States usurped qAmericaq for itself, symbolically, is also the process by which liberalism established political and economic dominance. In the course of his study, he offers sustained discussions of Hawthornes irony and ambiguity, of aesthetic and social strategies of cohesion, and of the conundrums of liberal dissent. Winner of the Modern Language Associations James Russell Lowe prize, qThe Office of qThe Scarlet Letterqq provides a theoretical redefinition of the function of symbolism in culture and an exemplary literary-ideological reading of a major text.Sacvan Bercovitch. Owen Evans, Le socialisme romantique: Pierre Leroux et ses contemporains (Paris, 1948), pp. 223-32. 10. Emerson, a€œThe Young American, a€ in Essays and Lectures, 217, 221; Hawthorne, a€œThe Intelligence Office, a€ in Talesanbsp;...

Title:The Office of the Scarlet Letter
Author:Sacvan Bercovitch
Publisher:Transaction Publishers - 2013-03-01


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