McGill 2003

From Whiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
McGill, Meredith L. American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834-1853. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

"a case study of the dynamic relationship between conceptions of ltierary property and American cultural production," focusing on the period just before the "American Renaissance" (1)

"I will argue that antebellum ideas about intellectual property helped to produce a distinctive literary culture that cannot adequately be perceived through the optics of national literary study, a paradigm that we have all but naturalized. Although we have come to think of the classic works of mid-nineteenth-century American authors as national property, these texts emerged from a literary culture that was regional in articulation and transnational in scope." (1)


  • "Held together by a single stitch so that they could qualify as newspapers under the postal code, these supplements were published in a standard quarto size so that the reader could have them bound to create a uniform but personalized library. Typical of the hybrid publishing formats of the 1840s, the magazine extra decentralized book production, blurring the line between publisher and reader as well as that between high and low culture -- disposable literature, and books that were worth preserving. The proliferation of cheap, reprinted texts and the reliance of the book trade on periodical publishing realigned relations between author, publisher, editor, and reader, upended the hierarchy of genres, and troubled the boundaries of the text-as-object." (2)
"The mass-cultural circulation of high-cultural texts confounds our critical taxonomies even as the transnational status of reprinted texts makes it difficult for us to assimilate them into national literary narratives." (3)