The Unifying Aspects of Cultures


Frontier Metamorphoses: Americanization and Otherness

Anders Olsson (Mid-Sweden University, Harnosand, Sweden)
A Metaphor for the Institution? The Frontier and U.S. Literature

In my talk I will explore the concept of "frontier" in relation to the history of U.S. literature from three points of time: 1928 when it was discussed in The Reinterpretation of American Literature as a governing statement for the national, literary discipline-to-be; 1955, when Robert E. Spiller forwarded the idea of the second frontier of U.S. literature; the 1990s when "la frontera" or "the borderland" was recognized as significant for literary change. Out of the three points of time I will discuss the "frontier" as a metaphor for both continuity and change and argue that because of its dichotomous applicability it has become a usable and unusable concept for the institution of U.S. literature both in its domestic development and in its relation to other literatures of the world.