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View Reading The American Novel 1780 1865 2011

My point is that such foundations exits only as a result of and in regard to particular interpretive communities at particular times. Of course, recognizing a pre-text as pre-text—i. But it seems necessary to assume such competency as a given before formalist or semantic interpretation begins. The principle that intention is involved in reading is held by many contemporary critics and theorists, a number of whom maintain that reading for meaning inherently involves reading for authorial intention: e. Harari Ithaca: Cornell UP, — Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception 34— Helmut Lehmann-Haupt, Lawrence W.

Wroth, and Rollo G. New York: Bowker, ; Peter Dzwonkoski, ed. Besides the gargantuan Harpers, J. Casper, Jeffrey D. Groves, Stephen W. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, — Oscar Weglin, Early American Fiction, — , 3rd ed. John Tebbel sets the figures for fiction even higher, asserting that among the approximately 2, titles published in the United States in , 1, were original or reprinted novels These cumulative numbers, however, only hint at the magnitude of periodical publication in the United States between and , since many ephemeral periodicals that began after disappeared by and thus were not part of the total for that year.

Mott calculates that more than 4, periodicals appeared over those twenty-five years in the United States. On the growth of the transportation infrastructure in antebellum America, the seminal source remains George Rogers Taylor, The Transportation Revolution, — New York: Rinehart, : for canals, see 32—55; for steamboats, 56—73; for railroads, 74— On railroads, see also John F.

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On the impact of transportation advances, and of the railroad in particular, on book distribution, see Zboray, Fictive People 55— Zboray, Fictive People , n. Harvey J. Allen, In the Public Eye 56, Elmer D. The Industrial Book, — Commercial and subscription libraries open to the public appear to have been substantially more numerous in the United States than in Britain. Harry G. Good, A History of American Education , 2nd ed. This distrust was true even in England, where such resistance was less pronounced than it was in other European nations.

Hence by , there were 80, public schools in the United States with enrollments of 3. Zboray, Fictive People 14—15; Faye E. Williamson and Arnold R. Drum, The American Petroleum Industry , 2 vols. Richard D. Carl F. Kaestle and Maris A. On the connection between urbanization and the domestic ideal, see Wortman.

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On bookstores as a predominately urban institution in antebellum America, see Bode —12; and Zboray, Fictive People — Zboray 37—54, also provides an extensive discussion of the predominant urban itinerary of book peddlers. Regarding the connection between population density and number of libraries, Soltow and Stevens note that in counties of 10, or more inhabitants averaged 2. Martin —54; Zboray, Fictive People 12, One index to the urban character of print consumption is the few surviving subscription lists of antebellum periodicals, such as the Southern Quarterly Review. In the list of paid subscribers that magazine included in its July issue, urban inhabitants comprised 75 percent of the names.

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Barney Maldon, MA: Blackwell, —91; and esp. Stuart M. On the multiroom home as a predominantly middle-class and urban development, see Mintz 34—35; and Sam Bass Warner Jr. The penurious condition of working-class women was even worse. On the slow growth in free public libraries before the Civil War, see Carpenter On the cost of subscription and social libraries, see Jesse H. The problem of working-class access to books and periodicals went beyond a mere percentage of cost to wages.

It was also a function of discretionary income, which was significantly lower among the working class Blumin — To underscore these disparities, however, is not to imply that the antebellum working classes were barred from access to print in general and fiction in particular. Besides the availability of some used books, the advent of inexpensive story newspapers in the s provided working-class readers an avenue into print culture.

Leonard I. For a general discussion of the difference in leisure time among classes in nineteenth-century America, see Cross 75—76, and throughout. Zboray, Fictive People , Zboray, Fictive People , table The question of the representativeness of the holdings of the New York Society Library is also germane.

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Review of Ruth Hall , On men as an important part of the antebellum reading audience for fiction and periodicals, including those designed primarily for women, see also Mary Lynn Stevens Heininger, At Home with a Book: Reading in America, — Rochester: Strong Museum, Home Journal Dec. Subsequent citations to antebellum periodicals will be given parenthetically in the text.

On the changed attitude toward and acceptance of fiction, see also Baym 26— Chaison, and Jeffrey D. Groves [Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, ] Others have questioned the typicality of remarks in letters and memoirs as representative of the practices of the vast majority of historical readers who never self-consciously recorded their responses e.

Clair 5—6. Wallace The work of Ronald and Mary Zboray is relevant here because, while it questions, it also reinforces my argument about the affinities between periodical reviewers and the middle-class audience for fiction. The manner in which that culture was demographically coded by class and location, however, indicates that the public sphere in antebellum America was hardly guaranteed to all. Charvat, Profession of Authorship , 3. Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews , ed. Thompson New York: Library of America, This concern about the social dangers of reading—and particularly novel reading—was shared outside the public sphere as well.

For example, Scott E. Groves [Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, ] — In analyzing the public forum of periodical responses to fiction, I treat reviewers and critics as one group even though at times in this period a distinction was made between the two. On the regulatory tendency of antebellum periodicals in general and reviews in particular and their self-conception as conservators of civilization, culture, and literature, see also Cheryl D.

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New York Mirror , qtd. A number of previous studies have shed substantial light on the practices of antebellum critics and reviewers, and I have found much of their work useful in my discussion in this chapter of the public codes of interpretation. Several of the general categories I focus on to examine the interpretive strategies of reviewers—particularly plot, character, narrative, morality, and instruction—parallel categories discussed in several of these studies, primarily because these were the areas to which reviewers repeatedly turned their attention, both as formal elements they ascribed to fiction and as categories in which their interpretive moves were played out.

While building on these previous studies, however, my analysis seeks to move in a different direction or pursue substantially different ends. Moreover, in my study as a whole, I am less interested in the interpretive practices of reviewers in and of themselves than in the way this antebellum reading formation constituted fictional texts that have come down to us whether as well known or neglected in forms that owe their shape and significance, in one degree or another, to reception events in the antebellum public sphere.

On this characterization of fiction readers in eighteenth-century English reviews, see Joseph F. Regarding the broader impact of British periodicals on antebellum reviewers in the United States, see Charvat 28 ff. See also the other studies cited in note 6. Pritchard points out, however, that this assumption about the primacy of plot was being challenged in this period through increased emphasis on character as equally important.

http://epay.vg/nokia-51-spy.php Although Barthes identifies this code as a function of the text itself, it is more accurate to say that it is a strategy readers bring to bear to decipher the discourse of the text. For antebellum reviews of The Scarlet Letter , see J. Donald Crowley, ed. On these three as common categories in antebellum reviews, see Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers —, — Baym also includes as antebellum genre categories metropolitan novels and highly wrought novels, but my own research indicates that metropolitan novel was a designation rarely used.

By contrast, highly wrought was less an adjective for designating a genre category and more a judgmental descriptor applicable to any novel that was viewed as sensational, excessively melodramatic, or morally suspect. That is, one could have highly wrought historical fiction or a highly wrought advocacy novel.

Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers Recently, Suzy Anger has made a similar claim about British reviewers in the first half of the nineteenth century Victorian Interpretation [Ithaca: Cornell UP, ] In reading for meaning and idea, reviewers were engaging in a form of response that antebellum readers as a whole may well have shared.

On this parallel, a remark by Ronald and Mary Zboray about antebellum New Englanders is especially telling.

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Antebellum periodical readers could have gained a familiarity with such emblematic reading of flowers from magazines themselves. Roland Barthes, Mythologies , trans. Pritchard 64—68; Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers — Casper, Jeffrey Groves, Stephen W. Although auto-biographical was the common antebellum designation, occasionally the more modern term first-person was employed. Poe, e. This claim is made by Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers — On the early-to-mid-nineteenth-century assumption that reading through fiction involved getting to know the author, see Hochman 11— Pritchard 84, 87—88, and throughout.

For this idea among reviewers, see also Pritchard 72, who briefly discusses similar reminders in the New York Mirror and the Knickerbocker Magazine. For related discussion of antebellum valorization of verisimilitude in conceptions of fictional characterization, see Pritchard 71—76; and Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 90, and throughout.

Daniel R. Writings in the Broadway Journal, vols. Burton Pollin New York: Gordian, 3: Poe to J.

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John Ward Ostrom, 2 vols. New York: Gordian, 1: Buckingham and Edwin Buckingham, May 4, , Letters 1: James A. Harrison, 17 vols. New York: DeFau, 8: Complete Works Although Poe articulated his theories about effect and aesthetic power in the s, even earlier in his career he espoused those principles. For a parallel concern with effect among antebellum reviewers, see Baym One reason for this convergence between Poe and other reviewers may have been that all were drawing on a common source: August Wilhelm Schlegel.

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Though such a conclusion is partially accurate, it does not account for the way Poe sought to produce surplus, slippery, and unstable meanings as a means of maintaining his ascendancy over the audience. Over the last two decades, several important studies have explored the anxiety antebellum authors, both popular and canonical, felt in depending upon audience demands and fulfilling audience expectations in the new literary marketplace.

See, esp.

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Other proponents of this second argument include Louis A. Interestingly, earlier in his study 36 Allen also espouses the former argument about specific texts targeted to each audience. Williams Subsequent citations to reviews reprinted or excerpted in the Poe Log are given parenthetically by their original dates, followed by PL and the corresponding pages in the Log. For quotations directly from magazines, this and all subsequent chapters follow the method used in chapter 2 by providing parenthetical citations by periodical date and original page numbers.