Abstract

Abstract:

This paper argues that Ralph Waldo Emerson's and Walt Whitman's manuscript books informed how and what they wrote during the antebellum decades. It begins by establishing that between 1830 and 1860 readymade manuscript books began displacing the loose-leaf assemblages that were more common around and long before 1800. The readymade manuscript book consequently facilitated renewed abstractions of the labors of reading and writing, as well as their remove from the resistances and complications of writing materials that trace back to earlier shifts in the history of literacy. From these shifts in antebellum material culture came Emerson's efforts to transcend mere readymades and Whitman's embrace of the readymade as the medium of transcendence.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-7438
Print ISSN
2166-742X
Pages
pp. 259-283
Launched on MUSE
2018-11-30
Open Access
No
Archive Status
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