The Pastoral Double-Plot of Swallow Barn
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In this chapter, Templeton returns to one of the most important texts in the creation of the ‘Plantation Literature’ genre, Swallow Barn by John Pendleton Kennedy. This chapter pays close attention to the publication history of the novel, showing how it was revised as the century progressed, and assesses the political ramifications of the novel at different stages in the nineteenth century, and how the burgeoning genre of Plantation literature sits in relation to Jeffersonian political ideals. Borrowing the idea of the ‘double plot’ from William Empson, Templeton provides a new reading of the novel grounded in biographical and historical detail, which allows us to preserve the novel’s status as satire with the growing conservatism of the revised editions.