Alternative States in Nineteenth-Century American Culture
“Sugden has the rare gift of being able to synthesize complex conversations and formulations and then to intervene within them generously and wisely. His archive of texts is rich, bringing together an unusual grouping of authors ranging from Melville to the first Haitian novelist, Émeric Bergeaud. Emergent Worlds considers these texts as a collective ‘archival form’ that does more than merely preserve the interstitial states of emergent political thought that existed precariously in the time of their original production; it also protects a kind of seedbed for unknown futures: emergent forms of political imagining that might one day be called upon to remake a precarious world.”
—Anna Brickhouse, University of Virginia
“An astute, surprising, and inventive study of the experiential and aesthetic possibilities that became imaginable during moments of historical and geographical irresolution in the ‘long nineteenth century,’ as older world-systems receded before new ones cohered. In those liminal ‘folds,’ Sugden remaps oceanic geoculture through a series of richly illuminating and refreshingly original interpretations of a host of texts, canonical and understudied. Emergent Worlds is, like the worlds it examines, full of possibilities and pleasures.”
—Christopher Castiglia, author of Practices of Hope (NYU Press, 2017)
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