Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in by Dana Luciano

By Dana Luciano

2008 Winner, MLA First ebook PrizeCharting the proliferation of sorts of mourning and memorial throughout a century more and more interested in their ancient and temporal value, Arranging Grief deals an leading edge new view of the classy, social, and political implications of emotion. Dana Luciano argues that the cultural plotting of grief offers 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 general chronologies and backed alternative ways of advancing history.Nineteenth-century appeals to grief, as Luciano demonstrates, subtle modes of "sacred time" throughout either spiritual and ostensibly secular frameworks, without delay authorizing and unsettling tested schemes of connection to the prior and the long run. 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 placed forth methods of tough deep-seated cultural assumptions approximately heritage, 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)

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The setting of the rural cemetery—in the country but within view of the city—matched the alternate perspectives on time opened in the subject by feeling. The rural cemetery’s spatial arrangements suggested the distinctly expansive temporality they effectively condensed: situated beyond the city, where time was hemmed in by the many demands placed upon it by a modernizing culture, the rural cemetery permitted the modern subject 33 MOMENTS MORE CONCENTRATED THAN HOURS to view, so to speak, its horizon.

In a world increasingly constructed around change, the connections forged in grief’s lingering preserved some measure of continuity, precisely through its affiliation with extralinear temporal modes. The altered relation to time that characterizes the emotional world of the mourner is repeatedly invoked in Nehemiah Adams’s 1859 tract Catharine. Following on the success of the Congregationalist minister’s popular Agnes and the Key of Her Little Coffin (1857), Catharine was written, like the earlier book, from the perspective of a bereaved father, mourning his nineteen-year-old daughter’s death from consumption.

Most noteworthy among these was the “rural” cemetery, introduced to the States by Mount Auburn in Cambridge, which opened in 1831, and Brooklyn’s Green-Wood, launched in 1838. 26 Contemporary commentators, however, emphasized the alternate temporal implications of these bucolic locations, highlighting the way they suited the disposition of grief. The dead, they argued, should be interred outside the city center because this location served the mourner best. The setting of the rural cemetery—in the country but within view of the city—matched the alternate perspectives on time opened in the subject by feeling.

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