“Dreaming Revolution is a cogent and compelling discussion of transgression in major American romances and their British progenitors… Bradfield provides convincing readings that demonstrate precisely how transgression as a romantic ideal is recuperated as an aspect of bourgeois ideology… what lends strength and originality to Bradfield’s book are the clarity and care with which he conducts his readings of individual works… this is a strong contribution to the ongoing discussion of ideology and American literature.” –Patrick O’Donnell
“This book makes an exciting and stimulating argument…This is an important, highly significant volume.”—Geoffrey Greene
Dreaming Revolution usefully employs current critical theory to address how the European novel of class revolt was transformed into the American novel of imperial expansion. Bradfield shows that early American romantic fiction—including works by William Godwin, Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, and Edgar Allan Poe—can and should be considered as part of a genre too often limited to the nineteenth-century European novel. In a spirited discussion of the works from these four authors, Bradfield argues that Americans take the class dynamics of the European psychological novel and apply them to the American landscape, reimagining psychological spaces as geographical ones.
Chapter 1: The Whole Truth: Caleb Williams and the Transgression of Class
Chapter 2: The Great Sea-Change: Edgar Huntly and the Transgression of Space
Chapter 3: James Fennimore Cooper and the Return of the King
Chapter 4: Edgar Allen Poe and the Exaltation of Form