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Surface and Depth – The Quest for Legibility in American Culture - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Surface and Depth: The Quest for Legibility in American Culture

Michael T. Gilmore


This book offers a comprehensive reinterpretation of American culture. Highlighting the American zeal for knowing or making legible, it seeks to recuperate a central tradition while simultaneously recognizing how the demand for clarity has obscured groups and perspectives at odds with the master narrative. American legibility has a long history stretching back to Puritan anti-monasticism; to the organization of the landscape into clearly delineated gridwork sections; and to the creation of a national government predicated on popular vigilance. The transparent imperative underlies this country’ ... More

Keywords: transparency, literary classics, popular fictions, landscape, cinema, psychoanalysis, Puritanism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780195157765
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195157765.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael T. Gilmore, author
Brandeis University
Author Webpage