Moving Encounters: Sympathy and the Indian Question in Antebellum Literature

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2008 - 255 страници

An old Indian woman comforts two young white children she finds lost in the woods and lovingly carries them back to their eager parents. A frontiersman sheds tears over the grave of a Mohican youth, holding hands with the mourning father. According to Laura L. Mielke, such emotionally charged scenes between whites and Indians paradoxically flourished in American literature from 1820 to 1850, a time when the United States government developed and applied a policy of Indian removal. Although these "moving encounters," as Mielke terms them, often promoted the possibility of mutual sympathy between Native Americans and Euro-Americans, they also suggested that these emotional links were inherently unstable, potentially dangerous, and ultimately doomed. At the same time, the emphasis on Indian-white sympathy provided an opportunity for Indians and non-Native activists to voice an alternative to removal and acculturation, turning the language of a sentimental U.S. culture against its own imperial impulse. Mielke details not only how such writers as James Fenimore Cooper and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft forecast the inevitable demise of Indian-white sympathy, but also how authors like Lydia Maria Child and William Apess insisted that a language of feeling could be used to create shared community or defend American Indian sovereignty. In this way, Moving Encounters sheds new light on a wide range of texts concerning the "Indian Question" by emphasizing their engagement with popular sentimental forms and by challenging the commonly held belief that all Euro-American expressions of sympathy for American Indians in this period were fundamentally insincere. While portraits of Indian-white sympathy often prompted cynical rejoinders from parodists, many never lost faith in the power of emotion to overcome the greed and prejudice fueling the dispossession of American Indians.


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The Moving Encounter in Antebellum Literature
The Evolution of Moving Encounters in Lydia Maria Childs American Indian Writings 18241870
Doomed Sympathy and The Prairie Rereading Natty Bumppo as a Sentimental Intermediary
Be man Emasculating Sympathy and the Southern Patriarchal Response in the Fiction of William Gilmore Simms
Containing Native Feeling Sentiment in the Autobiographies of William Apess Mary Jemison and Black Hawk
The Book the Poet the Indian Transcendental Intermediaries in Margaret Fullers Summer on the Lakes and Henry David Thoreaus The Maine Woods
Sorrows in excess The Limits of Sympathy in the Ethnography of George Catlin Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
Restoring the Noahic Family The Three Races of America in Mary Eastmans Aunt Philliss Cabin and Mary Howard Schoolcrafts The Black Gauntlet
Staging Encounters and Reclaiming Sympathy through Indian Melodramas and Parodies 18211855
Moving beyond Sentiment or Cynicism
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Страница 6 - No, no," cried Hawk-eye, who had been gazing with a yearning look at the rigid features of his friend, with something like his own self-command, but whose philosophy could endure no longer, "no, sagamore, not alone. The gifts of our colors may be different, but God has so placed us as to journey in the same path. I have no kin, and I may also say, like you, no people. He was your son, and a red-skin by nature ; and it may be that your blood was...
Страница 9 - There they may be secured in the enjoyment of governments of their own choice, subject to no other control from the United States than such as may be necessary to preserve peace on the frontier and between the several tribes. There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of civilization, and, by promoting union and harmony among them, to raise up an interesting commonwealth, destined to perpetuate the race and to attest the humanity and justice of this Government.

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Laura L. Mielke is assistant professor of English at the University of Kansas