By Tracy Anne Sachtjen
This venture brings jointly an research of nearby historical past, commercial capitalism, and U.S. empire to argue that ugliness---much greater than a personal crisis among someone and her mirror---became a style of justifying regulate over the folks and locations remodeled by way of the industrial methods of nineteenth-century enlargement. This dissertation engages ugliness as a ancient formation to research how its repeated invocation in renowned cultures supplied a simple avatar of awful distinction opposed to which a nationalist physique will be respected. Ugliness specified a physique so misplaced or outpaced by means of sleek beliefs that exclusion turned the solution to nationalized clash. during this approach, metaphors of visual appeal and aesthetic price buttressed the existing rhetoric of enlargement. This undertaking contributes to the examine of nationalist formation and embodiment through illuminating gender as a prop for racial abjection.
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Extra info for American Ugly: Appearance and Aesthetics in Cultures of U.S. Nationalism, 1848-1915
46 In typical romance fashion, a marriage proposal ended the novel, tying both Carmelita's and the squatters' future to Yankee progress; yet the structure of the romance - intermarriage - allowed Atherton to alter the gendered mythology of California history. By highlighting the daughter of Joaqufn Murieta, Atherton sidestepped the tones of manly adventure that shaped The Life and Times of Joaquin Murieta: The Celebrated California Bandit, the original narrative written by John Rollin Ridge.
41 That Atherton was fixated is clear. But beyond any apparent ugliness in her contemporaries or in her family members, this preoccupation found broad expression throughout her writing. From fiction to histories, transforming an ugly into a beautiful appearance became the formula through which she represented the cultural and political work of American modernity. Taken together, the studies on Gertrude Atherton contribute much to the biographical knowledge of Atherton, including the influence she had on commercial beauty procedures, or the interest in California that she helped generate.
47 Also like Dorthe, her beauty was uncanny, a quality so uncharacteristic of Indians in Atherton's sketches that she could not have been pure Indian. Similarly, Dorthe was no simple native; it was her mixed-race inheritance that captured the attention of European men. For both Carmelita and Dorthe, this racial fantasy pivoted on a particularly gendered fetish - their beautiful hair - which in both narratives served as an erotic sign of Spanish inheritance and the Achilles' heel of racial regression.
American Ugly: Appearance and Aesthetics in Cultures of U.S. Nationalism, 1848-1915 by Tracy Anne Sachtjen