E pluribus unum, out of many, one. This motto of political unity continues to circulate ubiquitously in the United States today, almost two and a half centuries after it was introduced in the halls of the Continental Congress. As scholars of early US literature and culture know, the rhetoric of unification played a distinctly reparative role in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which were plagued by numerous forms of political and infrastructural disunity. Recent scholarship on early US literature has embraced a different kind of reparative collectivism. Disenchantment with the kind of exceptional and unitary political agency associated with liberal individualism has given new theoretical life to republicanism and a range of other collectivist imaginaries (publics, cosmopolitanism, and so on). The turn away from individualism and toward the commons of politics has inspired critics to grapple anew with the...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this content.