New Release Books by Ormond Seavey

Ormond Seavey is the author of Henry Adams in Washington (2020), Becoming Benjamin Franklin (1988) and Benjamin Franklin, the Enlightenment, and American Experience (1986).

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Henry Adams in Washington

release date: Oct 12, 2020
Henry Adams in Washington
A descendent of two U.S. presidents and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Henry Adams enjoyed a very particular place in American life, not least due to his ancestry. Yet despite his prolific writing in the years between 1877 and 1891, when he lived in Washington, D.C., Adams has somehow slipped into the gap between history and literature. In Henry Adams in Washington, Ormond Seavey integrates the diverse aspects of Adams’s writing, arguing for his placement among the major American writers of the nineteenth century. Examining Adams’s nine-volume History, which Seavey argues demands renewed literary attention, as well as his two novels, Democracy and Esther, and his biographies of Albert Gallatin and John Randolph of Roanoke, Seavey shows how Adams reveals his own character and personality in his writings, particularly his fondness for the personal rather than the public sphere. As a historian writing in Washington, D.C., Adams surely encountered the expectation that public life takes precedence over the personal; in the execution of both his historical writing and his novels, however, he dwells instead on the personal costs of public life and the diminishment of public figures who lack a fulfilling personal life. Revealing Adams to be a missing link between the essential American writers in the time of Emerson and the modernist writers of the early twentieth century, Seavey shows his novels to be considerations of contemporary political issues while also recognizing the novelistic dimensions in his history and biographies.

Becoming Benjamin Franklin

release date: Jan 01, 1988
Becoming Benjamin Franklin
This is the first book to examine Franklin''s Autobiography systematically in relation to the life history from which it was drawn. It also considers the Autobiography in terms of eighteenth-century conventions of autobiography and Enlightenment conceptions of the self. Seavey emphasizes the cultural and historical importance of Franklin as a writer. Unlike most historians'' treatments of Franklin, this study sees Franklin''s activity as author of his own life history as central to his importance, thus locating Franklin''s life in the history of self-consciousness in the eighteenth century. Unlike conventional approaches to biography, Seavey''s study sets apart the Autobiography and its provenance for special focus. However, like a biography, this is also a study of Franklin''s personality as it developed from his birth is Boston to his death. His own self-understanding has posed a particular challenge to the students of his life. The great impediment to biographies of Franklin is that he took charge of the territory first. He was intensely aware of his own identity all his life, and this book takes a more comprehensive view of his writings as manifestation of a developing self.

Benjamin Franklin, the Enlightenment, and American Experience

release date: Jan 01, 1986

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