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Lincoln's Smile and Other Enigmas by…
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Lincoln's Smile and Other Enigmas

by Alan Trachtenberg

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The best essay in the collection is the title essay. Trachtenberg's discussion of the narrative the viewer crafts through the viewing of portraits is fascinating. I lost interest a few pages into the essay on "Photographs as Symbolic History." I think most of his points have already been covered in other books on photographic history. The book would be especially interesting to Hawthorne readers. I never considered House of Seven Gables from that perspective before.
  Map13 | Mar 19, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809065738, Paperback)

"Lincoln's Smile demonstrates why Alan Trachtenberg has been the leading scholar in American studies for more than four decades." --Casey Nelson Blake, Columbia University
 
Alan Trachtenberg has always been interested in cultural artifacts that register meanings and feelings that Americans share even when they disagree about them. Some of the most beloved ones--like the famous last photograph of Abraham Lincoln, taken at the time of his second inaugural--are downright puzzling, and it is their obscure, riddlelike aspects that draw his attention in the scintillating essays of Lincoln's Smile and Other Enigmas. With matchless authority, Trachtenberg moves from daguerreotypes to literary texts to subjects as diverse as Louis Sullivan's Auditorium Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the early works of Lewis Mumford.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:45 -0400)

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