Department of English

Professor John Morán González publishes 'The Troubled Union'

Fri, September 17, 2010
Professor John Morán González publishes 'The Troubled Union'


In The Troubled Union: Expansionist Imperatives in Post-Reconstruction American Novels, John Morán González traces the imperialist imaginings behind literary efforts to reunite the United States after the trauma of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This innovative study explores how the U.S. historical romance attempted to rebuild a national identity by renovating Manifest Destiny for the twentieth-century imperialist future through courtship and marriage plots. Yet even as these literary romances promised expansive national futures, the racial and gender contradictions of U.S. democracy threatened to result in troubled unions at home and fractious ventures abroad. Canonical authors such as Henry James, popular authors such as Helen Hunt Jackson, and rediscovered authors such as María Amparo Ruiz de Burton provide the dramatic narratives examined in this book.

Employing theoretical perspectives drawn from American Studies and Latin American Studies, González highlights the importance of the “domestic”—understood as both the domestic boundaries of the nation and of the home—as a key site within civil society that maintained and renewed imperialist national subjectivities. The Troubled Union combines the formal analysis of literary genre with interdisciplinary cultural studies to elucidate just how the imperial national allegory deeply structured the U.S. cultural imagination of the late nineteenth century.


“In The Troubled Union: Expansionist Imperatives in Post-Reconstruction American Novels, John Morán González presents insightful and persuasive new readings of widely read and much studied novels, links aesthetic choice to political and ideological issues in generative ways, and advances our understanding of the importance of thinking about the nation in the world and the world in the nation effectively. This work is, without a doubt, relevant to the study of national allegory, the culture of empire, and the social construction of realism.”

—George Lipsitz, professor of Black Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

John Morán González is Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his undergraduate degree (magna cum laude) at Princeton University and earned two graduate degrees from Stanford University. He is the recipient of major fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson National Foundation. He is a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS), the Department of American Studies, the Program in Comparative Literature, and the Center for Women and Gender Studies. His major research interests include Latino/a literature, especially Chicano/a literature; late nineteenth-century US literature and culture; narrative theory; postcolonial theory; cultural studies. He is a Research Affiliate of the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, and currently serves upon the Executive Committee for the MLA Division for Chicano/a Literature.

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