Explorers of the American frontier found more than just simple geographical locations, and their writings chronicle a whole cultural perspective on the West. The developing patterns of the American discovery narrative are the focus of "Narrating Discovery", a work of "new" literary history. Beginning with British or colonial writers Hearne, Mackenzie, and Henry and moving into the early American narratives of Lewis and Clark, Pike, and Fremont, Bruce Greenfield concludes with a reinterpretation of the American antebellum writers Irving, Cooper, Poe, and Thoreau. The author looks at the economic institutions that sponsored exploratory travel and at the rhetorical features of early exploration accounts written between 1760 and 1845. He then shows how these narratives influenced the American Renaissance writers and how, in the works of those writers, discovering America took on an increasingly personal and aesthetic quality.
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