"A dead body never begs a grave" the memoir of the suffering body as a counter-narrative of the american revolution

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Abstract

Joseph Plumb Martin's 1830 memoir is one of the earliest American narratives to position the narrator's body and suffering at its center and to deploy this bodily suffering as a means of resistance. I contend that by exploring the dynamics between the discourses of civic virtue and the body in Martin's memoir, one may arrive at a better understanding of the history and the political uses of the "physical" body and its representations in the early Republic.Martin uses his tale of the body to present a counter-narrative of the ways in which the revolutionary veteran's suffering has been appropriated by the state. Through his narrative of the deteriorating and suffering citizen-soldier's body betrayed by an ungrateful nation, Martin lashes out in a political critique of the Revolutionary generation's failure to adhere to the social ideals of the Revolution, thus undermining the emerging conservative memory of the Revolution.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)83-100
Number of pages18
JournalProse Studies
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • American Revolution
  • Body
  • Joseph Plumb Martin (1760-1850)
  • Personal narratives
  • Soldiers
  • Virtue

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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