Joseph Plumb Martin's 1830 memoir is one of the earliest American narratives to position the narrator's body and suffering at its center and to deploy this bodily suffering as a means of resistance. I contend that by exploring the dynamics between the discourses of civic virtue and the body in Martin's memoir, one may arrive at a better understanding of the history and the political uses of the "physical" body and its representations in the early Republic.Martin uses his tale of the body to present a counter-narrative of the ways in which the revolutionary veteran's suffering has been appropriated by the state. Through his narrative of the deteriorating and suffering citizen-soldier's body betrayed by an ungrateful nation, Martin lashes out in a political critique of the Revolutionary generation's failure to adhere to the social ideals of the Revolution, thus undermining the emerging conservative memory of the Revolution.
- American Revolution
- Joseph Plumb Martin (1760-1850)
- Personal narratives
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Literature and Literary Theory