Earliness and Lateness: Alternate History in American Literature

  • Ben CarverEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Alternate-historical thought in the US was preoccupied with the anxiety that America’s “youth” had come to an end and that the European fate of decline awaited. Reflections on cultural identity also followed a pattern of return and renewal, for instance in Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis .” Castello Holford’s novel, Aristopia: A Romance-History of the New World (1895), refashions Turner’s mythology of the frontier when he describes the formation of a true American republic in the seventeenth century, whereas Mark Twain’s tale of A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court (1889) adopts a much bleaker view by envisioning history as circuits of ignorance and violence; by doing so, he brings alternate history into the orbit of science fiction.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishFalmouth UniversityPenrynUK

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