Interstitial States in the Oceanic Nineteenth Century
This introduction provides a synoptic overview of the project as a whole concentrating on how it relates to the crisis of identity in the study of the nineteenth-century Americas that has evolved in the years since 2001. It begins with an extended analysis of the overlooked second and third clauses of Moby-Dick—“Some years ago—never mind how long precisely”—and shows how they contain a model for history, geography, politics, and form, as well as how these areas relate to issues of field definition. From this close reading, it defines the central structural terms of the book, namely, the “interstitial state,” the “oceanic geoculture,” the “dissonant time,” and the “archival form.”
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