AMERICA HAS BEEN SUBJECT to representation by a whole phalanx of out-siders and other-continentals—romantic prophets and the mawkishly curious, intellectual imperialists and political spectators, moral fanatics and doomsayers, discoverers, conquistadors, and social fantasists, from Chateaubriand and Tocqueville to Reyner Banham and Jean Baudrillard. These attentions have usually already begun their particular labor of interested misrepresentation in the utterance of their very first syllables, which so often collapse the body of the Americas into the short hand of “America,” the America, for which read the United States of America—another place altogether, both inside and outside its relation with the continental whole.

A case in point is the “fabulous continent” (blurb) of Jean Baudrillard’s Amerique (not even L’Amerique), to be published as America this month by Verso (New York), in

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