Publication details [#6866]

Bercovitch, Sacvan. 1996. Discovering America: a cross-cultural perspective. In Budick, Sanford and Wolfgang Iser, eds. The translatability of cultures: figurations of the space between. Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 147–168.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Person as a subject


In this paper, Bercovitch is in flight from a “beatification of the subversive,” which confuses “literary analysis with social action” while it enjoys an “alliance between radicalism and upward mobility in the profession.” By reflecting upon Kafka’s resistance to the hypostatizations within German culture, the author retraces his own attempts to elude the enticements of American “oppositional” criticism, which in effect claims to be a mechanism for summoning the spirit of otherness. He lives out the crisis brewing in “the Emersonian re-vision of individualism as the mandate both for permanent resistance and for American identity.”Yet, this same crisis propels Bercovitch to a position of opposition to oppositionalism itself, since his critical condition is to remain always the interested outsider, crossing back and forth between inside and outside.
Source : Based on information from author(s)