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American EnchantmentRituals of the People in the Post-Revolutionary World$
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Michelle Sizemore

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190627539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190627539.001.0001

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“Changing by Enchantment”

“Changing by Enchantment”

Washington Irving’s Sketch Book Hermeneutics

(p.106) 4 “Changing by Enchantment”
American Enchantment

Michelle Sizemore

Oxford University Press

This chapter transitions to a discussion of “the people” as a nation, contextualizing its analysis within the rise of U.S. nationalism during and after the War of 1812. A work of American travel writing, Washington Irving’s Sketch Book showcases the rites of the Grand Tour, particularly literary pilgrimage, both to demonstrate U.S. competence for political sovereignty and to explore mystical communion between the Old and New World. Through an investigation of the sketch “Rip Van Winkle,” the chapter identifies an innovative mode of historical analysis that opens up an alternate understanding of the American people. The people are not a group of individuals in the here and now but a constellation of changing relations reaching backward and forward in time.

Keywords:   Washington Irving, Rip Van Winkle, War of 1812, Grand Tour, travel writing, literary pilgrimage, literary nationalism

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