Although Abraham Lincoln is typically remembered as one of the handfuls of America’s greatest presidents, he was also a talented writer and has been the subject of much-inspired writing. This volume examines Lincoln both as a craftsman of words and as the subject of others’ literary craft.
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This volume, like all others in the Critical Insights series, is divided into several sections. It begins with an introductory piece, “Lincoln and Me,”—a comprehensive introduction to Abraham Lincoln as a writer, speaker, and cultural figure—by David S. Reynolds, describing both the impact of his culture on the man and the impact of the man on his culture. Reynolds’ essay is followed by a brief survey of Lincoln’s life, written by volume editor Robert C. Evans.
Following the introductory essay, a collection of four critical contexts essays are intended to treat the novel (1) from a historical vantage point, (2) in terms of its critical reception, (3) using a specific critical lens, and (4) by comparing and contrasting it with another important work. This section opens with an article by Stephen Cushman titled, “Lincoln Teaches Grant to Write.” This essay explores Lincoln’s relationship with Union general Ulysses S. Grant. This is followed by a piece written by Robert C. Evans, “Recent Scholarship on Lincoln the Write and Speaker.” The following two articles are written by Nicolas Tredell and Michael Anderegg respectively. The first, “‘I would save the Union’: Lincoln’s Rhetorical Road to the US Civil War,” offers a particular critical lens by focusing on Lincoln as a rhetorician. The final essay, “Lincoln’s Shakespeare,” exploring Lincoln as a reader and passionate admirer of the works of William Shakespeare.
Following these four Critical Context essays is the Critical Readings section of this book, which contains the following essays:
- On Lincoln's Second Inaugural and the King James Bible, by John E. Alvis
- The Search for Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, by David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften
- "We, even we here,": Persuasion by Identification in Lincoln's Speeches, by John Channing Briggs
- "Abraham Lincoln/ His hand and pen...," by Robert Bray
- "So you're the little woman...": Lincoln, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Nicolas Tredell
- The Poets' Lincoln (1915): An Anthology of Commemorative Verse, Robert C. Evans
- Poems About Abraham Lincoln by Early African American Authors, Robert C. Evans
- Lincoln and the Poets in Maurice Manning's Railsplitter, by Brian Yothers
- Abraham Lincoln in Robert Penn Warren's World, by Steven D. Ealy
- Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012): A Survey of Reviews, by Jordan Bailey
- Spirits of Place in Lincoln in the Bardo, by Steve Gronert Ellerhoff
In the final section, Resources, easy-to-follow lists are provided to help guide the reader through important dates and moments in the author’s life. A selection of further reading is then provided. Also included in this volume is a Chronology of Abraham Lincoln’s Life, a list of Works by Abraham Lincoln, a Bibliography, additional resources, About the Editor, contributors, and an alphabetical Index.