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It renders the story of America and our westward course of empire in the most beautiful and heartbreaking manner imaginable.
Ferguson uses the visual image of a series of paintings by Thomas Cole, The Course of Empire, which currently hangs at the New York Historical Society, to illustrate his point that every society goes through five stages.
It is very much in keeping with the current historical trend of examining the course of empires through their effects on small groups, even though Tung focuses on cities and buildings rather than on individuals.
The Course of Empire deals in part with Lewis and Clark.
116-17) Charting the course of empire through a catalogue of the material culture appropriated by missionaries from "all the countries they have been" (and, chillingly, from peoples who no longer exist), this passage brilliantly underscores Walker's ability to maintain the integrity of the narrative's personal perspective - here that of a young girl's wonder at her first glimpse into the riches of her African heritage - even as she simultaneously invites readers to resituate that perspective in a wider context of race and class.
It was near this site that photographer Mark Ruwedel was inspired to begin his series "Westward the Course of Empire," 1994-2007.
Wallace returns here to concerns he first dealt with explicitly in his novella Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way: the self-conscious fiction of the high postmodernists has been popularized into a cheap cynicism, a celebration of surface and the denial of depth, and a tendency to label any assertion about anything as hopelessly naive; fiction needs to build on the technical and thematic innovations of postmodern literature and find a way to break through the cynicism and the superficiality of contemporary society so as to say something true about being human.
As his title suggests, Schwartz's provocative thesis is a refutation of Bishop Berkeley's famous phrase that "Westward the course of empire makes it way.