Caught in the Webs of Empire: Benjamin Franklin’s Cosmopolitan Ideas for an American Self

Chapter
Part of the The New Urban Atlantic book series (NUA)

Abstract

The chapter considers the various forms cosmopolitanism takes at various stages of Benjamin Franklin’s writing career. Cillerai starts her discussion with an analysis of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiographical narrative in the context of its origins in the texts that Franklin composed early in his life, and in the context of their use in his memoir. The chapter shows how Franklin’s organization and choice of materials gives us an insight into the extent to which the language of cosmopolitanism influenced his representation of a developing American identity. Cillerai’s analysis of the rhetorical characteristics of the autobiography shows how Franklin’s representation of the American individual transformed from the early to the later decades of the century.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. John’s UniversityStaten IslandUSA

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