Routledge has published a new book by Asst. Prof. Patrick McDonald of the Department of American Culture and Literature, “Liberalism, Theology, and the Performative in Antebellum American Literature.”
The book argues that a wide range of antebellum narrative fiction from sentimental novels to sensational drama identifies a foundational link between liberal institutions and performative utterances. Auctions, trials, marriages and contracts, this fiction contends, all depend on the self-constituting authority of words and performances which anybody and everybody can appropriate and are always subject to misfiring. Rather than viewing this as a liberatory and egalitarian political force, however, both canonical and obscure writers insist that such naked authority calls for an aesthetic and religious supplement.
Dr. McDonald received his PhD at the University at Buffalo–SUNY and has been published in ESQ, Eighth Lamp and Researches in African Literature.