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Apocalyptic GeographiesReligion, Media, and the American Landscape$
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Jerome Tharaud

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691200101

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691200101.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Apocalyptic Geographies

Jerome Tharaud

Princeton University Press

This chapter provides a background on the relationship of religious media and the landscape in the antebellum United States in order to rethink the meaning of space in American culture. It traverses a range of genres and media including sermons, landscape paintings, aesthetic treatises, abolitionist newspapers, slave narratives, novels, and grave markers. It also traces the birth of a distinctly modern form of sacred space at the nexus of mass print culture, the physical spaces of an expanding and urbanizing nation, and the religious images and narratives that ordinary Americans used to orient their lives. The chapter investigates the efforts of Protestant evangelical publishing societies to teach readers to use the landscape to understand their own spiritual lives and their role in sacred history. It talks about the “evangelical space” that ultimately spread beyond devotional culture to infuse popular literature, art, and politics.

Keywords:   religious media, antebellum United States, American culture, sacred space, evangelical space, devotional culture

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