Combative Transatlantic Literatures

An Analysis of Washington Irving’s The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun

  • Tia Byer


This paper discusses the combative literary and cultural relations between the Old World of Europe and the New World of the United States. In analysing the use of irony within nineteenth-century renditions of the travelogue genre, I trace the transatlantic struggle as originating from an American post-colonial inferiority complex. By examining Washington Irving’s 1820 The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1860 text The Marble Faun, this paper will demonstrate the New World’s advent of creative autonomy and self-perceived artistic decolonisation of the European forbears’ traditions.  I argue that within these texts, the subversion of the travelogue form enacts defiance of hegemonic European cultural assertion, producing literature that asserts its own existence and reflects the infant nation’s political inception. This paper additionally interrogates and evaluates the literary epoch of the American Renaissance and its imagined status as being the beginnings of American artistry.

How to Cite
Byer, Tia. 2019. “Combative Transatlantic Literatures”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts, no. 29 (December).