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216 } EARLY AMERICAN LITERATURE: VOLUME 52, NUMBER 1 While Burnard pulls these reflections from some of the existing literature on slavery, racism, and trauma, the epilogue is not really a synthesis of the work of others or even a conclusion to his own book. Rather, it lays out assumptions that Burnard has brought to the entire study—such as those about trauma and hatred—that are not as well defined as they might be. Given the centrality of these concerns, Planters, Merchants, and Slaves: Plantation Societies in British America, 1650−1820 provides a survey of the social history of Britain’s plantation complex that is as much about culture as economics. Paul G. E. Clemens Rutgers, State University of New Jersey−New Brunswick Nation and Migration: The Making of British Atlantic Literature, 1765−1835 Juliet Shields Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016 208 pp. Juliet Shields’s comprehensively researched study contributes to and extends the “archipelagic” study of late-­ eighteenth- and early-­ nineteenth-­ century literature by focusing on writing by and about Scots, Irish, and Welsh immigrants to the American colonies and then to the United States.The book combines detailed attention to relatively canonical works (Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland [1798] and Edgar Huntly [1799], James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans [1826], Robert Southey’s Madoc [1805]) with brief discussions of numerous novels, stories, and sketches, composed in English and addressing, in one way or another, distinctly nonmetropolitan experiences of belonging or displacement. Recent events in the United Kingdom have reminded us of the old and new fissures that can be opened up between Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland (North and South), and Shields’s book gives us a sense of how these political and anthropological differences functioned at an earlier moment and in the context of the nascent American Republic. Nation and Migration’s most successful attempt to forge links between American and nonmetropolitan British literary expression occurs in a Book Reviews { 217 chapter on “Atlantic Regionalism” that focuses on collections of tales and sketches published in Scotland, Ireland, and the United States. In this richly detailed chapter, Shields demonstrates how an attention to nonmetropolitan life and manners creates an alternative literary tradition that could unite American authors with non-­ English authors (many of them women) on the other side of the Atlantic. Reading these collections together also allows Shields to identify important differences between nineteenth-­ century authors in Scotland and Ireland who “tend to downplay intranational differences in order to emphasize Scotland and Ireland’s differences from England ” and Americans who “participated in imagining a broader American identity” precisely by “examining the changes that increased immigration, westward expansion, and forced Indian removal wrought on hitherto-­ insulated communities” (127). Catherine Maria Sedgwick’s work, in particular , reminds us that our contemporary struggles with the politics of migration and xenophobia might find inspiration in such stories as “The Irish Girl” (1842) that “invokes the Puritan ideal of America as God’s chosen land to argue against its isolation and impermeability” (135). Shield’s introduction begins by reminding us that “the United States was not settled only, or even primarily, by the English” (3), and her book claims to illuminate “the unsettling of a politically and culturally Anglocentric British Atlantic world, as non-­ English regions of that world found potential sources of strength in their shared secondariness” (23). But “non-­ English” is a confusing term here and throughout Nation and Migration, not only because the popular literature of the late-­ eighteenth- and early-­ nineteenth-­ century Atlantic world was written in English, but because in the United States that linguistic dominance went hand in hand with a swift erasure of any significant cultural differences among émigré British literary communities.The three central chapters of Shields’s book are less interested in the demographics of immigration or the maintenance of culturally diverse literary traditions in the United States and more in the figurative significance of Scots, Irish, and Welsh characters for American writers who no longer claim or display any archipelagic specificity. Brockden Brown’s Irish radical, Clithero Edny, lacks not only an Irish name, as Shields points out, but much that would allow him to function as the representative of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-147X
Print ISSN
0012-8163
Pages
pp. 216-218
Launched on MUSE
2017-03-18
Open Access
No
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