Friday, December 28, 2012

American Poetry and Private Real Property

American Poetry and Private Real Property

Eric Rawson, Journal of American Studies, forthcoming

Abstract: This article examines the ways in which American poetic practice and thematics map a conception of private real property as it has developed uniquely on the North American continent. I explore how the Land Ordinance of 1790, the Preemption Act, the Homestead Act, and other land-use policies shaped a conception of the developing landscape as divisible into a vast agglomeration of private enterprises mediated primarily by the transfer of title deeds. The impact of private real property beliefs and practices, I argue, has shaped both the practice and the reception of American poetry (and other cultural products) for at least the last 150 years. I incorporate the insights of cultural geography – particularly the work of John B. Jackson, Carl Sauer, and Scott Freundschuh – to understand how the last century's building practices and the reorganization of the landscape, particularly in western metropolitan areas, find imaginative expression in poetry. Although mine is not a law-in-literature approach, I contend that modern/postmodern poetry operates in a way that depends on the very exchange values of the late capitalist property system it often critiques.

Nod to Kevin Lewis


Tom said...

Next Professor Rawson should study the link between a professor's Pulbish-or-Perish count and relevance to anything useful (RAU).

No, I don't know to measure RAU, either, but Eric Rawson seems just the sort of fellow who could come up with one.

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