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Americans “Away Off to the East”: George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark and the American Ruritanian Romance, 1901-1924

Abstract

George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark series was an American take on the “Ruritanian” genre that was immensely popular in the United States in the early twentieth century. By comparing Graustark (1901), the first novel in the series, with East of the Setting Sun (1924), the second to last Graustark novel and the first to be written after World War I, we can see how a growing consciousness of America’s relationship to Europe on the world stage shaped the fate of an imaginary jewel-box principality somewhere on the Balkan peninsula. By examining these novels in relation to Maria Todorova’s theory of “balkanism,” we can see how the Southeastern European setting allowed McCutcheon to cultivate an image of American masculinity that aligned with a post World War I vision of American influence abroad.

Keywords

Ruritania, Graustark, Balkans, McCutcheon, balkanism

How to Cite

LaPlatney, A., (2023) “Americans “Away Off to the East”: George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark and the American Ruritanian Romance, 1901-1924”, Essays in History 56(1), 1-16. doi: https://doi.org/10.25894/eih.141

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Authors

Allison E. LaPlatney orcid logo (Queens College)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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