PJAS 12 Spring-3

Tadeusz Rachwał
Where East Meets West: On Some Locations of America
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 12 (Spring 2018) pp. 31-42


The paper offers a reading of the westward movement of the American frontier as a passage to an imaginary land in which the actual topographical displacement is accompanied by various, sometimes contradictory, images of the future. The settlers envisioned various Americas, the visions coming from their own experiences as well as from the stereotypically European projection of America as a paradise and as an object of possession. Such, sometimes contradictory, visions are noticeable in attempts at conceptualizing the frontier and its significance not only (explicitly) by Turner, but also less directly by such writers and thinkers as Thoreau, Whitman, or Bourne. Their Americas are in fact imaginary constructs reworking the encounter of East and West, frequently mixing not only discovery with invention, but also relocating, like Whitman in “Passage to India,” two of the cardinal directions of the world and thus, as it were, “transnationalizing” America.

Keywords: exceptionalism, transnationalism, American studies, phenomenology, intertextuality, historical palimpsests, ideology

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.12/1/2018.03

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