We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Moral Enterprise

Literature and Education in Antebellum America

Derek Pacheco

Publication Year: 2013

Moral Enterprise: Literature and Education in Antebellum America, by Derek Pacheco, investigates an important moment in the history of professional authorship. Pacheco uses New England “literary reformers” Horace Mann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Peabody, and Margaret Fuller to argue that writers came to see in educational reform, and the publication venues emerging in connection with it, a means to encourage popular authorship while validating literary work as a profession. Although today’s schools are staffed by systematically trained and institutionally sanctioned teachers, in the unregulated, decentralized world of antebellum America, literary men and women sought the financial stability of teaching while claiming it as moral grounds for the pursuit of greater literary fame. Examining the ethically redemptive and potentially lucrative definition of antebellum author as educator, this book traces the way these literary reformers aimed not merely at social reform through literature but also at the reform of literature itself by employing a wide array of practices—authoring, editing, publishing, and distributing printed texts—brought together under the aegis of modern, democratic education. Moral Enterprise identifies such endeavors by their dual valence as bold, reformist undertakings and economic ventures, exploring literary texts as educational commodities that might act as entry points into, and ways to tame, what Mann characterized as the “Alexandrian library” of American print culture.

Published by: The Ohio State University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (23.3 MB)
p. 1-1

read more

Title Page, Dedication, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.1 KB)
pp. 2-5

... Moral enterprise : literature and education in antebellum America / Derek Pacheco.1. American literature?19th century?History and criticism. 2. Popular education?New England?History?19th century. 3. Literature and society?New England?History?19th century. 4. Mann, Horace, 1796?1859?Criticism and interpretation. 5. Hawthorne, Nathan-iel, 1804?1864?Criticism and interpretation. 6. Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer, 1804?1894?...

Table of Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (37.2 KB)
pp. v-vi

List of Figures and Tables

pdf iconDownload PDF (28.9 KB)
pp. vii-8

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (67.7 KB)
pp. ix-x

This book owes its existence to the support of many excellent aca-demic colleagues. It began its life as a dissertation under the direction of Barbara Packer, an advisor so immeasurably generous with her time that she once penned pages of handwritten commentary for one of its chapters while on vacation, sitting in a Venetian gondola. I also owe a deep professional debt to Michael Colacurcio for years of guidance, as well as to Eric Sundquist ...

read more

Introduction: Education and the "Alexandrian Library"

pdf iconDownload PDF (111.8 KB)
pp. 1-16

An AdverTisemenT quoted in the September 1839 issue of the Chris- tian Examiner trumpets the fact that The School Library?s publishers would include a ?Book-case, with a lock and key?.?.?.?gratuitously, to all who take the Library.?1 This is from the ?Prospectus? for Horace Mann?s The School Library, a series of books endorsed by the state Board of Education for use in Massachusetts? newly formed district school libraries. The promotion of ...

read more

1. Bibliographic Nationalism: Marketing America in Horace Mann's School Library

pdf iconDownload PDF (3.3 MB)
pp. 17-49

...in The prefAce to The Juvenile Budget Opened (1840), the first of three volumes on the selected writings of respected English Romantics Anna Laetitia Barbauld and her brother, John Aikin, Sarah Hale explains that the texts were written ?for English children. You must, therefore, expect to find the scenes mostly laid in England, and English character and manners described.?1 Paradoxically, these three editions?The Juvenile Budget Opened, ...

read more

2. "Disorders of the Circulating Medium:" Hawthorne's Early Children's Literature

pdf iconDownload PDF (150.6 KB)
pp. 50-78

...in A pAssAge that could have been lifted from the sternest of nineteenth-century diatribes against fiction, Oberon, the aspiring writer in Haw-thorne?s short sketch ?Devil in Manuscript? (1835), complains that he has become ?ambitious of a bubble, and careless of solid reputation,? surrounded by ?shadows, which bewilder me, by aping the realities of life,? and cloistered in a ?strange sort of solitude?a solitude in the midst of men.? But while he ...

read more

3. "Contact with the World:" Elizabeth Palmer Peabody's West Street Bookshop

pdf iconDownload PDF (139.9 KB)
pp. 79-104

...henry dAvid ThoreAu voices a common refrain among critics of nineteenth-century print culture when he complains in his ?Reading? chapter of Walden (1854) of ?a work in several volumes in our Circulating Library entitled Little Reading? which the populace consumes with ?saucer eyes, and erect and primitive curiosity, and with unwearied gizzard?.?.?.?just as some little four-year-old bencher his two-cent gilt-covered edition of Cin-...

read more

4. "Conversations of a Better Order:" Margaret Fuller from the Classroom to The Dial

pdf iconDownload PDF (171.7 KB)
pp. 105-136

WriTing To Elizabeth Peabody in 1836, and anxious for employment after her father?s death, Margaret Fuller waxes prophetic about her It is my earnest wish to interpret the German authors of whom I am most fond to such Americans as are ready to receive. Perhaps some might sneer at the notion of my becoming a teacher; but where I love so much, surely I might inspire others to love a little; and I think this kind of culture would be ...

read more

Coda: "The Sun is but a Morning Star"

pdf iconDownload PDF (89.1 KB)
pp. 137-145

...mAny of The thorny issues we identify as unique to our own ped- agogical moment, such as standardized textbooks, the rise of new media in the classroom, or even ?No Child Left Behind,? have analogs in the experiences of the nineteenth-century American transcendentalist circle. Figures such as Horace Mann, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Elizabeth Peabody, and Margaret Fuller were deeply interested in the principles, practices, and ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (236.5 KB)
pp. 146-179


pdf iconDownload PDF (114.8 KB)
pp. 180-192


pdf iconDownload PDF (92.0 KB)
pp. 193-201

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (7.5 MB)
p. 212-212

E-ISBN-13: 9780814271179
E-ISBN-10: 0814271170
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814212387
Print-ISBN-10: 0814212387

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 6 photos
Publication Year: 2013