Men in Coats - Nixon

Lockes english opera of 1675 to a botching stult who

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Unformatted text preview: (Foucault 25; emphasis mine), for the evils of its continuedpresence in America infused Northernideologues' salvos-or, better, its absence from the North offered a moral high ground that allowed for the celebration of a supposedlysuperior,democraticsociety full of free laboringfolk. But as Melville's tale suggests, once the political field is limited to the Northalone, once the poor black body ceases to be the pretext that h enables the rhetoricalfashioningof northern omothat political field is articulatedtropically geneity, and socially along class lines that look more to coats than to men to emit the most importantsigns. What "Benito Cereno" does five years before the Civil War,then, is to map out the politics and poetics of evasion-delineating the cloaked strugglefor class ascension within the supposedly democratic North and exposing the rhetorical "region of [. ..] cloaked malice" (Burke 19) thatposits a plain truth always Saxon and neverAfrican. I often hear and read somewhat concerning its repulsive style. Certainly I tell them, it is very odd. Yet I read a chapter lately with greatpleasure"(Correspondence 6-87). 8 3MichaelRogin refers to Carlyle in an excellent examination of Melville's father,Allan Melvill, who owned first a New York French-fashionemporiumand then a hat companybefore going bankrupt.Melvill deplored the "fripperyand dandyism of the age" and the "imported Coxcomb[s]" of New York (qtd. in Rogin 25), and he found the marketplacean "arenaof masquerade" where "eachbourgeois hid his own self-aggrandizingpure poses behind a confidence-inspiring xterior"(27). 4Franklinemphasizes Melville's reading of Fraser's Magazine when he makes the case for Melville's use of Stirling's "TheCloister-Lifeof the EmperorCharlesV" (137-50). 5Stultzeis mentionedrepeatedlyin early- and mid-nineteenthcenturyjournals as if he were a prominenttailor of the day, but the OED defines stult as a "derisive name for a tailor" and quotes a reference in M. Locke's English Opera, of 1675, to "a Botching Stult, who, being obliged to make Habits for men, cuts them out for Children." o 6Zagarell bservesthatthe slaves feminize Cereno"bycasting him in a powerlessrole which often rendershim [. . .] a parodyof the fragile, genteel lady.Cerenoevinces the consequencesof his emasculationby respondingas thoughhe hadbeen raped" 134). ( 7Willis coined the term "UpperTen Thousand"when he was M the editorof the New York irror.I am gratefulto SandraTomc for this reference. WorksCited Notes I would like to thank Sandra Tomc, Marcie Frank, and Eric Savoy for their valuablehelp with earlierversions of this paper; Robert K. Martin,David Ketterer,and RobertPhilmus for their comments and suggestions; and my research assistant, Julie Godin, for all her hardwork. 'FromOctober1844 to January1845 NathanielParker illis's W New York irrorran a piece called "Battleof the Cravats" bout M a the "YoungEngland"dandyishwearingof the white cravatas an a i aristocratic ffectation.New York n Slices (1849), a collection of anonymous contributions to the New YorkTribune, included "Slice XX-The Dandies,"whose authorarguedthat "New York is the only city and Broadwaythe only streetin which any thing like a respectable assortmentof Dandies can be found"(Foster J 76). The firstvolume of the New York ournal(1853-54) rancartoons of dandy "cocksparrows" nd containeda commentaryon a the Broadwaydandy:"Yourfirst-ratedandy is perfect in all his H appointments. e is dressedwith the most consummateskill and exquisite taste. [.. .] His manner,besides, is exceedingly polished, he is well versed in all polite things, and his urbanityand suavity are excellent things to copy. But your ignorant,coarse, besotted snobbish dandy [.. .] is an abomination"(Misc. item). 2In April 1836 Emerson wrote Carlyle: "How it [Sartor Resartus] will be received I know not. I am not very sanguine, for Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text. Trans. Richard Miller.New York:Hill, 1975. Bryant, John. Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the AmericanRenaissance.New York:OxfordUP, 1993. Burke, Kenneth.A Rhetoricof Motives. Berkeley:U of California P, 1969. Carlyle, Thomas. "Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question." The Worksof Thomas Carlyle. Vol. 16. New York: Collier, 1897. 461-94. - . SartorResartus.New York:OxfordUP, 1987. The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson,1834-1872. Vol. 1. Boston:Ticknor,1886. Davis, Merrell R., and William H. Gilman, eds. The Letters of HermanMelville. New Haven:Yale UP, 1960. Delano, Amasa. A Narrative of Voyages and Travels, in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres: Comprising Three VoyagesRound the World,Togetherwith a Voyageof Survey and Discovery in the Pacific Ocean and Oriental Islands. Boston: E. G. House, 1817. Emerson,RalphWaldo."TheAmericanScholar."The Collected Works f Ralph WaldoEmerson.Ed. RobertE. Spiller.Vol. o 1. Cambridge: elknap-Harvard P, 1971. 49-70. U B - . The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ed. Merton M. Sealts, Jr. Vol. 5. CamU bridge:Belknap-Harvard P, 1965. 372 'BenitoCereno" ThePoliticsof theDandiacalBodyin Melv/ille's [Ford, Richard]. Rev. of History of Spanish Literature, by George Ticknor.QuarterlyReview 87 (1850): 289-330. [Foster, George G.]. New Yorkin Slices: By an Experienced Carver: Being the Original Slices Published in the N. Y. Tribune.New York:Graham,1849. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans.Alan Sheridan.New York:Vintage, 1979. Franklin, H. Bruce. The Wakeof the Gods: Melville's Mythology. Stanford:StanfordUP, 1963. A Halttunen,Karen.ConfidenceMen and PaintedWomen: Study of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830-1870. New Haven:Yale UP, 1982. Karcher,Carolyn. Shadow over the Promised Land: Slavery, Race, and Violence in Melville's America. Baton Rouge: LouisianaState UP, 1980. Leyda, Jay. The Melville Log: A DocumentaryLife of Herman Melville, 1819-1891. Vol. 1. New York:Gordian,1969. Melville, Herman."BenitoCereno."The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839-1860. Evanston: Northwestern UP; Chicago:NewberryLib., 1987. 46-117. .The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade. Evanston: Northwestern P; Chicago: NewberryLib., 1984. U . Pierre; or, TheAmbiguities. Evanston: Northwestern UP; Chicago:NewberryLib., 1971. . White-Jacket;or, The Worldin a Man-of-War.Evanston: Northwestern P; Chicago:NewberryLib., 1970. U Miscellaneousitem. New York ournal9 Oct. 1853: 101. J Moers, Ellen. The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm. London: Secker, 1960. Rawson, Claude.Satire and Sentiment,1660-1830. Cambridge: CambridgeUP, 1994. Robbins, Bruce. The Servant's Hand: English Fiction from Below. Durham:Duke UP, 1993. Rogin, Michael. SubversiveGenealogy: The Politics and Art of HermanMelville. New York:Knopf, 1979. Story, Ronald. The Forgingof an Aristocracy:Harvardand the Boston Upper Class, 1800-1870. Middletown: Wesleyan UP, 1980. "Stult."The OxfordEnglish Dictionary.2nd ed. 1989. Sundquist, Eric. To Wakethe Nations: Race in the Making of H AmericanLiterature. ambridge: arvard P, 1993. U C Taylor, William R. Cavalier and Yankee:The Old South and AmericanNational Character.New York:Braziller,1961. Tomc, Sandra."An Idle Industry:Nathaniel ParkerWillis and the Workingsof LiteraryLeisure."AmericanQuarterly49 (1997): 780-805. Veblen, Thorstein. The Theory of the Leisure Class. London: Allen, 1957. Webster,Daniel. The Papers of Daniel Webster:Speeches and Formal Writings.Ed. Charles M. Wiltse. Vol. 2. Hanover: UP of New England, 1988. Wharton,Edith. TheAge of Innocence.New York:Collier, 1993. i Williams, Stanley T. "Cosmopolitanism n AmericanLiterature before 1880." TheAmericanWriterand the EuropeanTradition. Ed. Margaret Denny and William Gilman. Minneapolis:U of MinnesotaP, 1968. 45-62. Willis, NathanielParker."Who Are the Upper Ten Thousand?" New York irror22 Feb. 1845: 314. M Zagarell, Sandra."Reenvisioning America: Melville's 'Benito Cereno.'" Critical Essays on Herman Melville's "Benito Cereno."Ed. RobertE. Burkholder. ew York:Hall, 1992. N 127-45....
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This essay was uploaded on 03/01/2014 for the course ENGLISH 220 taught by Professor Linda during the Spring '11 term at CUNY Hunter.

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