Since the birth of the United States of America, violence has been a means of survival necessary to realize the “American Dream”. The beginning of the New World was made possible by conquering a hostile territory, by de- feating the Natives and by fighting against Great Britain. Subsequently, the preservation of the newly conquered freedom required a long and bloody Civil War. Therefore in Anglo-American history violence has always played a “foundational” role. The narrative scheme that places the pro-tagonist in a situation where violence becomes a moral necessity has be-come a topos of American literature and cinema. In classic works as J.F. Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, violence plays a central role. In his work, Regeneration through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860, historian Richard Slotkin gives a path-breaking account of the pervasive role of violence in American culture. According to Slotkin, the key to understanding the peculiarities of the American character can be found in the mythology that the country has created since the very beginning of New World colonization. Slotkin highlights how early Puritan settlers saw, in the overseas territories, a place where a spiritual, economic and political new life was possible. Violence played a crucial role in this perspective. It became the “structuring metaphor” of the Anglo-Saxon colonization of America: the “Americans” never questioned this violence, but saw it as the successful implementation of Manifest Destiny. The central myth identified by Slotkin is Regeneration through Violence. This myth has given birth to secondary myths that describe both classic and popular Ameican literary works. Among these secondary myths and fig- ures, we find the hard-boiled hero and his code, and the “vigilante avenger”.

Segato, G., "Hard, Stoic, Isolate and Killer": i miti della violenza nella letteratura e cultura anglo-americana, Paper, in STORIA, MITO, LOGOSDOTTORATO DI RICERCA IN LETTERATURE COMPARATE EURO-AMERICANEGIORNATE DI STUDI 2009, 2010, 2011, (Genova, 15-16 December 2011), Genova University Press, Genova 2013: 429-441 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/76515]

"Hard, Stoic, Isolate and Killer": i miti della violenza nella letteratura e cultura anglo-americana

Segato, Giulio
Primo
2013

Abstract

Since the birth of the United States of America, violence has been a means of survival necessary to realize the “American Dream”. The beginning of the New World was made possible by conquering a hostile territory, by de- feating the Natives and by fighting against Great Britain. Subsequently, the preservation of the newly conquered freedom required a long and bloody Civil War. Therefore in Anglo-American history violence has always played a “foundational” role. The narrative scheme that places the pro-tagonist in a situation where violence becomes a moral necessity has be-come a topos of American literature and cinema. In classic works as J.F. Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, violence plays a central role. In his work, Regeneration through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600-1860, historian Richard Slotkin gives a path-breaking account of the pervasive role of violence in American culture. According to Slotkin, the key to understanding the peculiarities of the American character can be found in the mythology that the country has created since the very beginning of New World colonization. Slotkin highlights how early Puritan settlers saw, in the overseas territories, a place where a spiritual, economic and political new life was possible. Violence played a crucial role in this perspective. It became the “structuring metaphor” of the Anglo-Saxon colonization of America: the “Americans” never questioned this violence, but saw it as the successful implementation of Manifest Destiny. The central myth identified by Slotkin is Regeneration through Violence. This myth has given birth to secondary myths that describe both classic and popular Ameican literary works. Among these secondary myths and fig- ures, we find the hard-boiled hero and his code, and the “vigilante avenger”.
Italiano
STORIA, MITO, LOGOS DOTTORATO DI RICERCA IN LETTERATURE COMPARATE EURO-AMERICANE GIORNATE DI STUDI 2009, 2010, 2011
Mito, magia, logos: fra letteratura e realtà
Genova
Paper
15-dic-2011
16-dic-2011
Genova University Press
Segato, G., "Hard, Stoic, Isolate and Killer": i miti della violenza nella letteratura e cultura anglo-americana, Paper, in STORIA, MITO, LOGOSDOTTORATO DI RICERCA IN LETTERATURE COMPARATE EURO-AMERICANEGIORNATE DI STUDI 2009, 2010, 2011, (Genova, 15-16 December 2011), Genova University Press, Genova 2013: 429-441 [http://hdl.handle.net/10807/76515]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10807/76515
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