Many Methodist circuit riders published their autobiographies in the mid-nineteenth century as an attempt to recreate the “zeal” of the earlier decades of American Methodism—and to lament the comfortable mood they perceived within their newly respectable middle-class denomination. This article demonstrates how and why “the circuit rider”—as a mythic figure or literary trope—was created and maintained, especially through autobiographies. It argues that they were not disinterested chronicles but arguments about the true character of the denomination. Most broadly, it uses memory studies to study the role of narrative in producing a politics of nostalgia.
The Myth of the Circuit Rider: American Methodist Autobiography and the Croaks of Nostalgia
Charles McCrary; The Myth of the Circuit Rider: American Methodist Autobiography and the Croaks of Nostalgia. Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 1 February 2017; 100 (1): 54–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/soundings.100.1.0054
Download citation file: