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Antebellum at SeaMaritime Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century America$
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Jason Berger

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677061

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677061.001.0001

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The Crater and the Master’s Reign: Cooper’s “Floating Imperium”

The Crater and the Master’s Reign: Cooper’s “Floating Imperium”

(p.175) Chapter 5 The Crater and the Master’s Reign: Cooper’s “Floating Imperium
Antebellum at Sea

Jason Berger

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines James Fenimore Cooper’s The Crater; or, Vulcan’s Peak: A Tale of the Pacific to discuss antebellum maritime narratives that provoke fantasies, reflecting the transition of antebellum age to the modern age of capitalism. Cooper’s novel not only manifestly favors vesting power in constitutional law over Whig-backed congressional agency, but also fantasmatically defends the broader master signifier of the law and its political valences. The novel provides different aspect of competing political formations played out in a Crusoe-like maritime scene.

Keywords:   The Crater, Vulcan’s Peak, antebellum maritime narratives, master signifier, James Fenimore Cooper, maritime scene

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