CHAPTER ONE: Historical Hermeneutics, Reception Theory, and the Social Conditions of Reading in Antebellum America
1. North American Review Oct. 1844: 435.
2. Elizabeth Freund, The Return of the Reader: Reader-Response Criticism (London: Methuen, 1987); Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1983) esp. 74–75. For a recent, useful—though at times tendentious—overview of the interest in readers, response, and audience in a variety of critical areas over the last fifty years—as well as in Western thought over the last two millennia—see Karin Littau, Theories of Reading: Books, Bodies, and Bibliomania (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2006). On the place of such work in cognitive linguistics, see Gilles Fauconnier, “Methods and Generalizations,” Cognitive Linguistics: Foundations, Scope, and Methodology, ed. Theo Jenssen and Gisela Redeker (New York: Gruyter, 1999) 95–127. On the relation between reading study and the New Historicism, see Edward Pechter, “The New Historicism and Its Discontents: Politicizing Renaissance Drama,” PMLA 102 (1987): 292. For a typology of orientations and approaches to audience and reading in the history of the book, see David D. Hall, “Readers and Reading in America: Historical and Critical Perspectives,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 103 (1993): 337–57; Jonathan Rose, “How Historians Study Reader Response,” Literature and the Marketplace: Nineteenth-Century British Publishing and Reading Practices, ed. John O. Jordan and Robert L. Patten (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995) 195–212; Jennifer Anderson and Elizabeth Sauer, “Current Trends in the History of Reading,” Books and Readers in Early Modern England, ed. Jennifer Anderson and Elizabeth Sauer (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2002) 1–20; and Leah Price, “Reading: The State of the Discipline,” Book History 7 (2004): 303–20. Whether the recently developed field of the history of reading is a subfield of the slightly older field of book history or a separate “offspring” is a point of disagreement among scholars. Anderson and Sauer, e.g., subscribe to the first view; holding the second is H. J. Jackson, “Marginal Frivolities: Readers’ Notes as Evidence for the History of Reading,” Owners, Annotators and the Signs of Reading, ed. Robin Meyers, Michael Harris, and Giles Mandelbrotte (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll; London: British Library, 2005) 149.
3. Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978) 3. This phenomenon was prevalent in the practice of most reader-response and other reader-oriented critics who worked either from formalist premises or from what Steven Mailloux has called a “social” model of reading (Interpretive Conventions: The Role of the Reader in the Study of American Fiction [Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1982] 40–65). See, e.g., Stanley Fish, Surprised by Sin: The Reader in Paradise Lost (London: St. Martin’s, 1967); Walter Slatoff, With Respect to Readers: Dimensions of Literary Response (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1970); Gerald Prince, “Introduction to the Study of the Narratee,” Poetique 14 (1973): 177–96; Walter J. Ong, S.J., “The Writer’s Audience Is Always a Fiction,” PMLA 90 (1975): 9–21; Judith Fetterley, The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978); Umberto Eco, The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1979); Iser, Act of Reading; Wolfgang Iser, The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1974); and Susan Suleiman and Inge Crosman, eds., The Reader in the Text: Essays on Audience and Interpretation (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1980).
4. For versions of this critique of 1970s and early 1980s reader-oriented practice, see Susan Suleiman, “Introduction: Varieties of Audience-Oriented Criticism,” Suleiman and Crosman 3–45; Frank Lentricchia, After the New Criticism (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1980) 105–12; Mary Louise Pratt, “Interpretive Strategies / Strategic Interpretations: On Anglo-American Reader-Response Criticism,” boundary 210 (1982): 201–31; Robert Holub, Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction (London: Methuen, 1984) 84, 135–53; Steven Mailloux, Rhetorical Power (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1989) 3–33; Stanley Fish, “Why No One Is Afraid of Wolfgang Iser,” Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies (Durham: Duke UP, 1989) 68–86; and Littau 107. A common shortcoming of such critiques, however, is that even as they were offered, they have perpetuated a gap between theory and practice in one of two ways. In the most frequent instances (Suleiman, Lentricchia, Holub, Pratt, and Littau), the recognition of history remains at the theoretical level, with little if any move toward reader-oriented praxis. In the second case, epitomized by Fish, the theoretical recognition simply drops out when practice begins, thus duplicating the problem of the reader-oriented approaches cited in note 3 above (see Fish, “Things and Actions Indifferent: The Temptation of Plot in Paradise Regained,” Milton Studies 17 : 163–85; and more recently How Milton Works [Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 2001]). One of the few theorists who has attempted to unite theory and practice has been Mailloux, who has proposed that critics give up trying to forge a “general theory” of reading and turn instead to “rhetorical hermeneutics,” which would “provide histories of how particular theories and critical discourses have evolved” by tracing the rhetorical practices of interpretation as “historical sets of topics, arguments, tropes, ideologies, and so forth” (Rhetorical Power 15–17). In taking this turn, however, Mailloux opens up a different gap by neither explaining nor demonstrating how such rhetorical histories could provide—or intersect with—accounts of particular reading practices and the dynamics of reception as products of historically specific interpretive strategies.
5. These problematic tendencies of 1970s reader-oriented criticism did not extend in the same way to psychological reader-response critics such as David Bleich and Norman Holland, primarily because their work dealt with contemporary reading strategies and contemporary readers (mostly college students) and thus had no methodological implications for the issue of reading as a historical act. The same applies to the vast majority of reception study in cultural studies and mass communication because of its contemporaneous orientation. Hence, the question of history is a moot point even in the strongly contextualized ethnographic and active-audience work that began with David Morley’s The “Nationwide” Audience: Structure and Decoding (London: British Film Institute, 1980) and Janice Radway’s Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1984) and has continued with such works as Jacqueline Bobo’s Black Women as Cultural Readers (New York: Columbia UP, 1995); Janet Staiger’s Perverse Spectators: The Practices of Film Reception (New York: New York UP, 2000); and Kimberly Chabot’s Postmodern Texts and Emotional Audiences (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 2007). For a discussion and representative examples of reception study in cultural studies, see the critical introduction and accompanying essays in the fourth section of James L. Machor and Philip Goldstein, eds., Reception Study: From Literary Theory to Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge, 2001) 203–317.
6. Hans Robert Jauss, Aesthetic Experience and Literary Hermeneutics, trans. Michael Shaw (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1982); Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1982); and Question and Answer: Forms of Dialogic Understanding, trans. Michael Hays (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1989). Early U.S. examples include Gary Taylor, Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1989); and Peter Widdowson, Hardy in History: A Study in Literary Sociology (London: Routledge, 1989). In treating Jauss and reception aesthetics in a different category from Iser and 1970s response criticism as a whole, I am following a distinction made by others, including Holub and Mailloux, but it is a distinction somewhat problematized by the fact that Iser and Jauss developed their methods as members of the Konstance school, which has led some critics to group them together (e.g., Freund 134–51). Despite their affinity, however, a differentiation seems warranted in that Iser himself sought to distinguish his method from reception aesthetics (see Act of Reading x, 151).
7. This characterization of a “turn” toward history in audience studies of the 1980s needs some qualification because the dichotomy was not as sharp as that term implies. Indeed, one common feature of a major segment of audience-oriented criticism from the 1970s through the 1990s involved the continual problematic reliance on an unchanging, achronic, textualized notion of the reader, particularly in criticism that sought to outline a transhistorical poetics of reading: see, e.g., Horst Ruthrof, The Reader’s Construction of Narrative (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981); W. Daniel Wilson, “Readers in Texts,” PMLA 96 (1981): 848–63; Patrocinio P. Schweickart, “Reading Ourselves: Toward a Feminist Theory of Reading,” Gender and Reading: Essays on Readers, Texts, and Contexts, ed. Elizabeth A. Flynn and Patrocinio P. Schweickart (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1986) 31–62; Peter Rabinowitz, Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1987); Inge Crosman Wimmers, Poetics of Reading: Approaches to the Novel (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1988); Paul B. Armstrong, Conflicting Readings: Variety and Validity in Interpretation (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1990); Lillian R. Furst, Through the Lens of the Reader: Explorations in European Narrative (Albany: State U of New York P, 1992); Jean Marie Goulement, Forbidden Texts: Erotic Literature and Its Readers in Eighteenth-Century France, trans. James Simpson (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1994); and George N. Dove, The Reader and the Detective Story (Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State UP, 1997). The same tendency has marked discussions of readers and reading in narratology; see, e.g., Lillian R. Furst, All Is True: The Claims and Strategies of Realist Fiction (Durham: Duke UP, 1995); and, more recently, James Phelan, Experiencing Fiction: Judgment, Progressions, and the Rhetorical Theory of Narrative (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2007). Several commentators on audience and reception studies from the 1980s and 1990s, including Jauss’s work, have noted this problem, as well as other theoretical and methodological blind spots: Holub, Reception Aesthetics 134–53; Jonathan Culler, The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1984) 54–57; David Shepherd, “Bakhtin and the Reader,” Bakhtin and Cultural Theory, ed. Ken Hirschkop and David Shepherd (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1989) 103; Mailloux, Interpretive Conventions 167–70; and David Perkins, Is Literary History Possible? (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992) 25–27. Mailloux, for instance, points out how “in reconstructing the horizon of social norms for a group of French lyrics in 1852 [an analysis contained in Toward an Aesthetic of Reception], Jauss discusses the effect of their reception on … bourgeois society; but his ‘horizon analysis’ leaves completely unexplained the interpretive work of readers that would have to be performed before such a socialization effect could take place”; in other words, notes Mailloux, “[l]ike traditional literary history … Rezeptionäesthetik tends to cover over the [contextually specific] interpretive work of readers … that underlies all literary history” (170, 11).
8. See, e.g., Jane Tompkins, Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790–1860 (New York: Oxford UP, 1985); Jon P. Klancher, The Making of English Reading Audiences, 1790–1832 (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1987); Michael Denning, Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America (London: Verso, 1987); Susan Harris, Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Novels: Interpretive Strategies (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990); Tom Keymer, Richardson’s Clarissa and the Eighteenth-Century Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1992); Lucy Newlyn, Paradise Lost and the Romantic Reader (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); Richard H. Brodhead, Culture of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993); Garrett Stewart, Dear Reader: The Conscripted Audience in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996); Deidre Lynch, The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture, and the Business of Inner Meaning (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1998); Paul Magnuson, Reading Public Romanticism (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1998); Diana Holmes, Romance and Readership in Twentieth-Century France: Love Stories (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006); Melissa Frazier, Romantic Encounters: Writers, Readers, and the Library for Reading (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2007); and Joe Bray, The Female Reader in the English Novel: From Burney to Austen (New York: Routledge, 2009).
9. Representative examples of this work from the mid-1980s to the turn of the century include James D. Wallace, Early Cooper and His Audience (New York: Columbia UP, 1986); Ezra Greenspan, Walt Whitman and the American Reader (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990); Tillotama Rajan, The Supplement of Reading: Figures of Understanding in Romantic Theory and Practice (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1990); Stephen Railton, Authorship and Audience: Literary Performance in the American Renaissance (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991); Eugene R. Kintgen, Reading in Tudor England (Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1996); Nancy Glazener, Reading for Realism: A History of a U.S. Literary Institution, 1850–1910 (Durham: Duke UP, 1997); Lucy Newlyn, Reading, Writing, and Romanticism: The Anxiety of Reception (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000); Lisa Gordis, Opening Scripture: Bible Reading and Interpretive Authority in Puritan New England (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003); and Suzy Anger, Victorian Interpretation (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005).
10. The number of reception studies with this orientation has grown over the last two decades to the point that a complete listing of articles, essays, and books would be impossible here. As far as full-length studies go, important and/or representative works since the 1990s are Michael Bérubé‚ Marginal Forces / Cultural Centers: Tolson, Pynchon, and the Politics of the Canon (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1992); K. P. Van Anglen, The New England Milton: Literary Reception and Cultural Authority in the Early Republic (University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1993); Seth Lerer, Chaucer and His Readers: Imagining the Author in Late-Medieval England (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993); William Kolbrener, Milton’s Warring Angels: A Study of Critical Engagements (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997); Jonathan Arac, Huckleberry Finn as Idol and Target: The Function of Criticism in Our Time (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1997); Marianne L. Nouy, Engaging with Shakespeare: Responses of George Eliot and Other Women Novelists (Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1998); Stephen Gill, Wordsworth and the Victorians (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998); Steven Mailloux, Reception Histories: Rhetoric, Pragmatism, and American Cultural Politics (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1998); Ronald Paulson, Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1998); Barbara Hochman, Getting at the Author: Reimagining Books and Reading in the Age of American Realism (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2001) esp. 16–26, 70–116; Philip Goldstein, Communities of Cultural Value: Reception Study, Political Differences, and Literary History (Lanham, MD: Lexington-Rowman and Littlefield, 2001); Eliza Richards, Gender and the Poetics of Reception in Poe’s Circle (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004); Dayton Haskin, John Donne in the Nineteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007); Craig Kallendorf, The Other Virgil: “Pessimistic” Readings of the Aeneid in Early Modern Culture (New York: Oxford UP, 2007); and Kate Loveman, Reading Fictions, 1660–1740: Deception in English Literature and Political Culture (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008). A noteworthy exception to this orientation is Nicola Diane Thompson’s Reviewing Sex: Gender and the Reception of Victorian Novels (New York: New York UP, 1996), which looks at reviewers’ responses to nineteenth-century British fiction. But Thompson’s book is limited to the public reception of only four novels and is cripplingly narrow in its examination of only one factor in British reviewers’ horizon of expectations: gender assumptions.
11. The term interpretive community was conceived most prominently, of course, by Stanley Fish (Is There a Text in This Class? [Cambridge, Harvard UP, 1980] esp. 167–73), though it has antecedents, particularly in Charles Sanders Peirce’s discussion of the communal intersubjectivity of semiosis (on this point in Peirce, see Umberto Eco, The Limits of Interpretation [Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1990] 40–41). The term reading formation comes from Tony Bennett, “Texts, Readers, and Reading Formations,” Bulletin of the Midwest Modern Language Association 16, no. 1 (Spring 1983): 3–17. Fish has defined interpretive communities differently on different occasions: at one point he has said that an interpretive community consists of “those who share interpretive strategies” and “a structure of interests and understood goals” (Is There a Text in This Class? 14, 333). Elsewhere, he has explained that “the idea of an interpretive community [designates] not so much a group of individuals who share a point of view, but a point of view or way or organizing experiences that share[s] individuals in the sense that its assumed distinctions, categories of understanding, and stipulations of relevance and irrelevance [are] the content of the consciousness of community members” (Doing What Comes Naturally 141). Bennett characterizes a reading formation as “a region of discourse that is specifically concerned with the production of readings, with the operation of a hermeneutic,” and therefore consists of beliefs, interpretive strategies, and other activities that vary from one formation to another within “the variety of material, social, institutional, and ideological contexts” in which they are formed (14). Since Bennett’s reading formation and Fish’s interpretive community, in the second definition, work out to be much the same thing, the two terms are, in effect, interchangeable and even redundant. But I want to retain both terms to make an important distinction. That is, I will be using reading formation (and interpretive formation) to refer to any set of interrelated interpretive codes, ideologies, and beliefs, while interpretive community will designate any group of people, not limited by geographical proximity, who share a particular reading formation within a historically specific set of social conditions.
12. For a discussion of this issue, see James L. Machor and Philip Goldstein, “Reception Study and the History of the Book,” Machor and Goldstein, Reception Study 155–59.
13. Jonathan Rose, “Rereading the English Common Reader: A Preface to the History of Audiences,” Journal of the History of Ideas 53 (1992): 51. Such a definition, it should be noted, is not without its problems. According to it, teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and historians could never be “common readers” no matter what they read, since all depend to a substantial degree on book reading for their livelihood. This definition also begs the question as to whether, say, professional films reviewers, who do not necessarily rely on reading books for their living, are “common” readers when they review.
14. Examples of historical studies looking at the reception of single works include Sylvia Huot, The Romance of the Rose and Its Medieval Readers: Interpretation, Reception, Manuscript Transmission (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993); Peter Burke, The Fortunes of The Courtier (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1995); Nicholas von Maltzahan, “The First Reception of ‘Paradise Lost’ (1667),” Review of English Studies 47 (1996): 479–99; Leon Jackson, “The Reader Retailored: Thomas Carlyle, His American Audiences, and the Politics of Evidence,” Book History 2 (1999): 46–72; James A. Secord, Victorian Sensations: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Audience of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000); Kenneth Roemer, Utopian Audiences: How Readers Locate Nowhere (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2003); and Cree LeFavour, “Jane Eyre Fever: Deciphering the Astonishing Popular Success of Charlotte Bronté in Antebellum America,” Book History 7 (2004): 113–41. Work in book history that has looked at a single reader began with Carlo Ginzburg’s groundbreaking The Cheese and the Worm: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980), a fascinating but problematic study that explores the life and mind of a sixteenth-century miller known as Menocchio. Subsequent studies of single readers, which have rectified some of those problems—though not the one involving the question of the representativeness of such readers—include Robert Darnton, “Readers Respond to Rousseau: The Fabrication of Romantic Sensitivity,” The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Basic Books, 1984) 215–56; Lisa Jardine and Anthony Grafton, “ ‘Studied for Action’: How Gabriel Harvey Read His Livy,” Past and Present 129 (1990): 30–78; William H. Sherman, John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1994); John Brewer, “Reconstructing the Reader: Prescriptions, Texts and Strategies in Anna Larpent’s Reading,” The Practice and Representation of Reading in England, ed. James Raven, Helen Small, and Naomi Tadmor (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996) 226–45; Kevin Sharpe, Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England (New Haven: Yale UP, 2000); Alison A. Scott, “ ‘This Cultivated Mind’: Reading and Identity in a Nineteenth-Century Reader,” Reading Acts: U.S. Readers’ Interactions with Literature, 1800–1950, ed. Barbara Ryan and Amy M. Thomas (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2002) 29–52; Daniel Wakelin, Humanism, Reading, and English Literature, 1430–1530 (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007) 93–125; and Susan M. Stabile, “Female Curiosities: The Transatlantic Female Commonplace Book,” Reading Women: Literacy, Authorship, and Culture in the Atlantic World, 1500–1800, ed. Heidi Brayman Hackel and Catherine E. Kelley (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2008) 217–43.
15. Representative, important full-length studies in this vein include David Cressy, Literacy and the Social Order: Reading and Writing in Tudor and Stuart England (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980); James Smith Allen, Popular French Romanticism: Authors, Readers, and Books in the 19th Century (Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1981); Robert Darnton, Literary Underground of the Old Regime (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1982); Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (New York: Oxford UP, 1986); Roger Chartier, The Cultural Uses of Print in Early Modern France, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987); William Gilmore, Reading Becomes a Necessity of Life: Material and Cultural Life in Rural New England, 1780–1835 (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1989); Michael Warner, The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990); Ronald J. Zboray, A Fictive People: Antebellum Economic Activity and the American Reading Public (New York: Oxford UP, 1993); Harry Y. Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts (New Haven: Yale UP, 1995); Charles Johanningsmeier, Fiction and the American Literary Marketplace: The Role of Newspaper Syndicates, 1860–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997); William Beatty Warner, Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684–1750 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1998); Jacqueline Pearson, Women’s Reading in Britain, 1750–1835: A Dangerous Recreation (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999); Brian Richardson, Printing, Writers, and Readers in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999); Martyn Lyons, Readers and Society in Nineteenth-Century France: Workers, Women, Peasants (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2001); Lori Humphrey, Reading Popular Romance in Early Modern England (New York: Columbia UP, 2002); Elizabeth Long, Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003); William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2004); Ronald Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, Literary Dollars and Social Sense: A People’s History of the Mass Market Book (New York: Routledge, 2005); Joan Shelley Rubin, Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007); and Matthew P. Brown, The Pilgrim and the Bee: Reading Rituals and Book Culture in Early New England (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2007).
16. See Ronald Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, “Transcendentalism in Print: Production, Dissemination, and Common Reception,” The Transcendent and the Permanent: The Transcendental Movement and Its Contexts, ed. Charles Capper and Conrad Edick Wright (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1999) 310–81; William Galperin, “Austen’s Earliest Readers and the Rise of the Janeites,” Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotes, ed. Deidre Lynch (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000) 85–114; Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001), chaps. 1, 3–4, 9–10, and 13; Joad Raymond, “Irrational, Impractical, and Unprofitable: Reading the News in Seventeenth-Century Britain,” Reading, Society, and Politics in Early Modern England, ed. Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2003) 185–212; LeFavour; H. J. Jackson, Romantic Readers: The Evidence of Marginalia (New Haven: Yale UP, 2005); Ronald Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, Everyday Ideas: Socioliterary Experience among Antebellum New Englanders (Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2006) 245–74; Annika Bautz, The Reception of Jane Austen and Walter Scott: A Comparative Longitudinal Study (London: Continuum, 2007) 15–113; and Amy Blair, “Main Street Reading Main Street,” New Directions in American Reception Study, ed. Philip Goldstein and James L. Machor (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008) 139–58. Again, the history of this work is more complex than my linear sequence suggests, since disclosures of interpretive moves by historical readers, as evidenced in notebooks, diaries, letters, and marginalia, did form a small but important element in some reception and book history studies as far back as the early 1990s; see, e.g., Huot; James Smith Allen, In the Public Eye: A History of Reading in Modern France (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991), chaps. 8–10; and Barbara Johnson, Reading Piers Plowman and The Pilgrim’s Progress (Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1992) 148–59.
17. For these caveats, see Kintgen 63–65, 214; Rose, “How Historians Study Reader Response” 206; Raymond 190; Jackson 38; Rubin 253; Rose, Intellectual Life 2; St. Clair 5–6; William Sherman, “What Did Renaissance Readers Write in Their Books?” Anderson and Sauer 130–31; Scott E. Casper, “Antebellum Reading Prescribed and Described,” Perspectives in American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary, ed. Scott E. Casper, Joanne D. Chaisson, and Jeffrey D. Groves (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2002) 160; Price 312–13; Wakelin 17; and Loveman 13. One problem with the use of marginalia, letters, and memoirs not noted in these critiques is that historians who have employed such evidence have repeatedly turned to readers who were intellectuals and scribes, members of the British aristocracy or of the publishing industry, or themselves novelists and poets, which calls into question the claim that such records provide evidence of the activities of “common” or “typical” readers. Studies exemplifying this pitfall include Jackson; Bautz; Wakelin; Sharpe; Rubin; and Zboray and Zboray, Everyday Ideas.
18. This problem is apparent, for example, in Huot; Johnson; Allen; and Rose, Intellectual Life.
19. Kevin Sharpe and Steven N. Zwicker, “Introduction: Discovering the Renaissance Reader,” Sharpe and Zwicker 9.
20. Patrocinio Schweickart, “Understanding an Other: Reading as a Receptive Form of Communicative Action,” Goldstein and Machor, New Directions in American Reception Study 3. Sharpe has noted a similar disjunction between response-and-reception criticism and historians of reading and of the book in that “historians have not for the most part been attracted to the programme of a historical reception theory or historical reader-response criticism” (37).
21. My use of the designation historical hermeneutics needs some explanation, since hermeneutics is a term that itself carries implications of an engagement with history. As it originally developed within theological discourse, hermeneutics was a method of reading distinguishable from exegesis and interpretation. According to Paul Achtmeier, “exegesis normally meant determining what meaning the text had for its own author and intended readers, interpretation sought the meaning the text could have for the current age, and hermeneutics concerned the rules to apply in order to get from the former to the latter” (An Introduction to the New Hermeneutic [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969] 13–14). In the twentieth century, however, the meaning of hermeneutics began to be expanded to include first exegesis and then interpretation, so that hermeneutics has come to designate loosely any activity concerned with the explanation and understanding of texts (see Robert Marsh, “Historical Interpretation and the History of Criticism,” Literary Criticism and Historical Understanding, ed. Phillip Damon [New York: Columbia UP, 1967] 1). By hermeneutics, however, I mean something more specific that draws on Paul Ricoeur’s assertion that hermeneutics is “the theory of the operations of understanding in their relation to the interpretation of texts” (“The Task of Hermeneutics,” Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences, ed. and trans. John B. Thompson [Cambridge and Paris: Cambridge UP and Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de L’Homme, 1981] 43). That is, I take hermeneutics to refer to a theoretically informed practice that studies both the act of interpretation—the making sense of a text—and the reading formation that produced it. Historical hermeneutics, therefore, is concerned with the dynamics of response and reception as the products of historically specific reading formations shared by particular interpretive communities. Conceived this way, historical hermeneutics differs from what Hans-Georg Gadamer means when he uses that same term, in that for Gadamer, historical hermeneutics signifies something closer to the traditional idea of hermeneutics as an activity seeking to contextualize a text to discover the historically specific meaning it contains. Gadamer’s historical hermeneutics is thus concerned, not with the process of interpretation by which a text’s original historical audience(s) made sense of it, but with the method by which subsequent readers can, within their own horizon of assumptions, come to an understanding of a text’s original and intrinsic meaning (Gadamer, Truth and Method, 2nd rev. ed., trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall [New York: Crossroad, 1990] esp. 165–379).
22. Jonathan Culler, “Prolegomena to a Theory of Reading,” Suleiman and Crosman 56–66.
23. The designations “positive” and “negative” belong to Suleiman, “Introduction: Varieties of Audience-Oriented Criticism”; “idealist” and “realist” are distinctions employed by Mailloux, Rhetorical Power 3–14.
24. Michael Berubé, Rhetorical Occasions: Essays on Humans and the Humanities (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2006) 97–110.
25. Suleiman, “Introduction: Varieties of Audience-Oriented Criticism” 43–46. Fish first posed this question and his answer in Critical Inquiry in an essay later incorporated in Is There a Text in This Class? 147–73, esp. 165. Fish also went on to anticipate the claim of Suleiman and others by asserting that the question and its nonanswer had no relevance for critical practice (370–71)—an assertion he would later echo in Doing What Comes Naturally 315–41.
26. The first of these is most closely associated with E. D. Hirsh (Validity in Interpretation [New Haven: Yale UP, 1967]; and The Aims of Interpretation [Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1976]), while the plenitude argument is espoused both within and outside of response and reception criticism and includes among its proponents Eco, Rabinowitz, Furst, Ruthrof, Iser, Jauss, Paul Armstrong, Robert Scholes (Protocols of Reading [New Haven: Yale UP, 1989]), and those who use statistical approaches (see, e.g., Elaine F. Nardocchio, ed., Reader Response to Literature [Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1992], esp. the essays by David S. Miall, Rosanne Potter, and Teresa Snelgrove). The positing of textual gaps found its strongest proponent, of course, in Wolfgang Iser (Act of Reading and Implied Reader). Despite his later turn from reader-response criticism to “literary anthropology,” Iser continued to invoke his theory that gaps are inherent features of texts in The Fictive and the Imaginary: Charting Literary Anthropology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1993) and The Range of Interpretation (New York: Columbia UP, 2000). Those who attribute to texts intrinsic formal features or properties include most response and reception critics and historians of reading, though this position is hardly limited to those working in reception and audience study. In fact, many of the leading poststructuralist theorists also fall into this category. See, e.g., Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, vol. 3, trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellaver (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1988) 170–71; and J. Hillis Miller, “Theory and Practice,” Critical Inquiry 6 (1980): 611.
27. Mailloux, Rhetorical Power 9.
28. Eco, The Limits of Interpretation 1–5. Subsequent citations appear in the text. For a similar argument, see Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, “Against Theory 2: Hermeneutics and Deconstruction,” Critical Inquiry 14, no. 1 (Autumn 1987): 54–56. The example of the car and the school children that I discuss next is a modified version of an example Knapp and Michaels use.
29. Regarding the issue of “normal” circumstances, see also Fish, “Normal Circumstances and Other Special Cases,” Is There a Text in This Class? 268–92.
30. Jacques Derrida, Limited, Inc. (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1988) 132, 137.
31. On the hierarchical arrangement of interpretive assumptions, see also the brief comments by Mailloux, Interpretive Conventions 193; and Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally 146. In arguing for the “foundational” or “more fundamental” status of some interpretive codes, I do not mean that some codes are foundational in any totalizing manner—i.e., foundational to all interpretive activity. My point is that such foundations exits only as a result of and in regard to particular interpretive communities at particular times. My argument here is less radical than it may at first appear in that over a decade ago the semiotician William Rogers also asserted that “interpretation interprets itself” and can do so “only within the boundaries of some interpretive system” (Interpreting Interpretation: Textual Hermeneutics as an Ascetic Discipline [University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1994] 2, 9). A major difference between his claim and mine, however, is that, as a follower of Charles Sanders Peirce, Rogers did not attribute this self-deciphering to the work of readers or interpretive communities but instead claimed that “the nature of the sign is to interpret itself in interpreting its object” (13).
32. Of course, recognizing a pre-text as pre-text—i.e., particular signs that warrant an interpretive act—is itself an interpretation grounded in a reading code that consists of at least an elementary linguistic competency. But it seems necessary to assume such competency as a given before formalist or semantic interpretation begins. That is, the basic ability to recognize a pre-text as parole within a “natural” language system (or langue) will be shared by all interpretive communities working within that language, irrespective of historical context. Regarding the role of interpretation in determining when the interpretive act is warranted in the first place and thus “what counts as an interpretable object,” see Miguel Tamen, Friends of Interpretable Objects (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2001) 3.
33. 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.g., Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels, “Against Theory” (1982), rpt. in Against Theory: Literary Studies and the New Pragmatism, ed. W. J. T. Mitchell (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985) 11–30; Eco, Limits of Interpretation 59; Michael Steig, Stories of Reading: Subjectivity and Literary Understanding (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1989) xi–xv; Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally 99–101, 116–17; Patrick Colm Hogan, On Interpretation: Meaning and Inference in Law, Psychoanalysis, and Literature (Athens: U of Georgia P, 1996) 45; and James Phelan, “Reading Across Identity Borders,” Reading Sites: Social Difference and Reader Response, ed. Patrocinio Schweickart and Elizabeth Flynn (New York: Modern Language Association, 2004) 40.
34. Michel Foucault, “What Is an Author?” Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism, ed. Josué V. Harari (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1979) 141–60.
35. Diana Goodrich, The Reader and the Text: Interpretive Strategies for Latin American Literature (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1986) 16.
36. For an analysis of the way reprinting and repackaging can both have an impact on and serve as a form of reception, see Barbara Hochman, “Sentiment without Tears: Uncle Tom’s Cabin as History in the 1890s,” Goldstein and Machor, New Directions in American Reception Study 255–76.
37. Rabinowitz 21.
38. Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception 34–35.
39. Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1957 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1960), 8; Eighth Census of the United States: 1860, 4 vols. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1864) 1: lii, 337, 432.
40. Helmut Lehmann-Haupt, Lawrence W. Wroth, and Rollo G. Silver, The Book in America: A History of the Making and Selling of Books in the United States, 2nd ed. (New York: Bowker, 1951) 120; Peter Dzwonkoski, ed., American Literary Publishing Houses, 1638–1899 (Detroit: Gale, 1986) 192; Per Gedin, Literature in the Marketplace, trans. George Bisset (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1977) 36–39. Besides the gargantuan Harpers, J. B. Lippincott of Philadelphia, as Michael Winship has noted, was “described as possibly the largest book distributing house in the world” in the 1850s (“Distribution and Trade,” The Industrial Book, 1840–1880, vol. 3 of The History of the Book in America, ed. Scott E. Casper, Jeffrey D. Groves, Stephen W. Nissenbaum, and Michael Winship [Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2007] 121).
41. John Tebbel, The Creation of An Industry, 1630–1865, vol. 1 of A History of Book Publishing in the United States, 4 vols. (New York: Bowker, 1972) 13, 221; Lehmann-Haupt, Wroth, and Silver 123; American Bibliography of Charles Evans: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from the Genesis of Printing in 1639 Down to and Including the Year 1800, vol. 13 (1903; Worcester, MA: American Antiquarian Society, 1955–59); Orville A. Roorbach, Bibliotheca Americana: Catalog of American Publications Including Reprints and Original Works from 1820 to … 1861, vols. 1 and 3 (1852–61; New York: Peter Smith, 1939), 4 vols.; “Our Books—Their Abundance and Its Causes,” Ladies’ Repository Sept. 1869: 546; Richard H. Shoemaker, Gayle Cooper, Carol Rinderknecht, and Scott Bruntjen, comps., A Checklist of American Imprints for 1820–1844, 26 vols. (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1964–93).
42. Oscar Weglin, Early American Fiction, 1774–1830, 3rd ed. (New York: Peter Smith, 1929); Lyle Wright, “A Statistical Survey of American Fiction,” Huntington Library Quarterly 2 (1939): 309; Dzwonkoski 76, 84, and throughout; “Works Published in 1855,” Ladies’ Repository July 1856: 441. John Tebbel sets the figures for fiction even higher, asserting that among the approximately 2,000 titles published in the United States in 1855, 1,200 were original or reprinted novels (224).
43. David Vincent, Bread, Knowledge, and Freedom: A Study of the Nineteenth-Century Working Class Autobiography (London: Europa, 1981) 116; Sidney P. Moss, Poe’s Literary Battles (Durham: Duke UP, 1963) 21.
44. Richard Altick, English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public, 1800–1900 (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1957) 8, 264; Davidson 17. See also Tebbel 222; James Hart, The Popular Book in America: A History of America’s Literary Taste (New York: Oxford UP, 1950) 93, 111–12; and Lee Erickson, The Economy of Literary Forms: English Literature and the Industrialization of Publishing, 1800–1850 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996) 5, 143.
45. Hart 46; New-York Mirror May 31, 1828: 375; Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (New York: Oxford UP, 1991) 370; J. D. B. DeBow, Statistical View of the United States … Being a Compendium of the Seventh Census (Washington, DC: Beverley Tucker, 1850) 155–56; Eighth Census of the United States 4: 320; Anthony Smith, The Newspaper: An International History (London: Thames and Hudson, 1979) 139.
46. Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines, 4 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1938) 1: 341–42, 2: 4; Ladies’ Repository Apr. 1861: 248; “Newspaper Men,” Ladies’ Repository Mar. 1854: 103; “Journalism in France,” British Quarterly Review, rpt. in Littell’s Living Age July 1846: 67–89. These cumulative numbers, however, only hint at the magnitude of periodical publication in the United States between 1825 and 1850, since many ephemeral periodicals that began after 1825 disappeared by 1850 and thus were not part of the total for that year. Mott calculates that more than 4,000 periodicals appeared over those twenty-five years in the United States.
47. Tebbel 257–62; Robert Escarpit, The Book Revolution (London: Harrap; Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1966) 23; William Charvat, The Profession of Authorship in America, 1800–1870 (1968; New York: Columbia UP, 1992) 46; Zboray, Fictive People 9–11, 131, 145; Lehmann-Haupt et al. 63–98; David S. Reynolds, Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville (New York: Knopf, 1988) 182, 281; Altick, English Common Reader 300; Michael Winship, “Manufacturing and Book Production,” Casper et al., eds., The Industrial Book, 1840–1880 42–48, 53–58.
48. Frank Luther Mott, Golden Multitudes: The Story of Best Sellers in the United States (New York: Macmillan, 1947) 67; James Gilreath, “American Book Distribution,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 95 (1985): 552; Mott, History of American Magazines, 2:7; Zboray, Fictive People 6; Zboray and Zboray, Literary Dollars xviii.
49. On the growth of the transportation infrastructure in antebellum America, the seminal source remains George Rogers Taylor, The Transportation Revolution, 1815–1860 (New York: Rinehart, 1957): for canals, see 32–55; for steamboats, 56–73; for railroads, 74–103. On railroads, see also John F. Stover, American Railroads (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1961) 11–56; and “The Railroads of the World,” Littell’s Living Age Apr.–June 1862: 109. On the impact of transportation advances, and of the railroad in particular, on book distribution, see Zboray, Fictive People 55–68.
50. Zboray, Fictive People 212, n. 4, raises a similar cautionary note.
51. Lee Soltow and Edward Stevens, The Rise of Literacy and the Common School in the United States: A Socioeconomic Analysis to 1870 (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981) 34, 153–55; Carl F. Kaestle, “The History of Literacy and the History of Readers,” Review of Research in Education 12 (1985): 26, 30; Zboray, Fictive People 83, 96; Tebbel 207, 257–59; Richard D. Brown, Modernization: The Transformation of American Life, 1600–1865 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1976) 139; Allen, In the Public Eye 59; Richard Altick, “English Publishing and the Mass Audience in 1852,” Studies in Bibliography 6 (1954): 6; Roger S. Schofield, “Dimensions of Illiteracy in England, 1750–1850,” Literacy and Social Development in the West: A Reader, ed. Harvey J. Graff (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1981) 201–13; Carlo M. Cipolla, Literacy and Development in the West (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1969) 115.
52. Allen, In the Public Eye 56, 61.
53. Carl Bode, The Anatomy of American Popular Culture, 1840–1861 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1959) 111–12; Zboray, Fictive People 15, 79.
54. Elmer D. Johnson, A History of Libraries in the Western World (New York: Scarecrow, 1965) 312–17; Hart 85; Seventh Census of the United States (Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong, 1853) lxiii; Soltow and Stevens 81; Eighth Census of the United States 4: 505; Kenneth E. Carpenter, “Libraries,” Casper et al., eds. The Industrial Book, 1840–1880 306. Commercial and subscription libraries open to the public appear to have been substantially more numerous in the United States than in Britain. According to Altick, for instance, an 1849 English report documented the “appalling lack of public library facilities [i.e., libraries open to general public access] in Great Britain as contrasted with those in … United States” (English Common Reader 224).
55. Edgar Martin, The Standard of Living in 1860 (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1942) 296–97; Brown, Modernization 138–39; Soltow and Stevens 105.
56. Harry G. Good, A History of American Education, 2nd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1962) 41; Soltow and Stevens 36; Paul Monroe, Founding of the American Public School System: A History of Education in the United States from the Early Settlement to the Close of the Civil War Period (New York: Macmillan, 1940) 59, 202–90, and 309.
57. Ira Katznelson and Margaret Weir, Schooling for All: Class, Race, and the Decline of the Democratic Ideal (New York: Basic Books, 1985) 79. This distrust was true even in England, where such resistance was less pronounced than it was in other European nations. Hence by 1850, there were 80,000 public schools in the United States with enrollments of 3.3 million, in comparison to Britain’s 15,000 public schools with 1.4 million students (Seventh Census of the United States, lx, lxiii).
58. Sellers 366–67; Soltow and Stevens 24; Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life (New York: Basic Books, 1976) 151–58; Carl F. Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780–1860 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1983) 62–74.
59. Zboray, Fictive People 14–15; Faye E. Dudden, Serving Women: Household Service in Nineteenth-Century America (Middleton, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1982) 129; Lawrence S. Cook, Lighting in America: From Colonial Rushlight to Victorian Chandeliers (New York: Main Street, Universe Books, 1975) 52–80; Harold F. Williamson and Arnold R. Drum, The American Petroleum Industry, 2 vols. (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1959) 1:38–39, 312–14.
60. Marlene Stein Wortman, “Domesticating the Nineteenth-Century American City,” Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 3 (1977): 535; Zboray, Fictive People 13, 74; Charvat, Profession of Authorship 299; Steven Mintz, A Prison of Expectations: The Family in Victorian Culture (New York: New York UP, 1983) 34–35; Martin 345; Julie A Matthaei, An Economic History of Women in America: Women’s Work, the Sexual Division of Labor, and the Development of Capitalism (New York: Schocken; Brighton: Harvester, 1982) 107; Gary Cross, A Social History of Leisure Since 1600 (State College, PA: Venture, 1990) 123.
61. Soltow and Stevens 17, 58–192; John Higham, “Hanging Together: Divergent Unities in American History,” Journal of American History 61 (1974): 13–14. On the role of religion in promoting literacy and reading in antebellum America, see David Paul Nord, Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004); Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity (New Haven: Yale UP, 1989) 125–45 and throughout; and David S. Reynolds, Faith in Fiction: The Emergence of Religious Literature in America (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1981).
62. Richard D. Brown, Knowledge Is Power: The Diffusion of Information in America, 1700–1865 (New York: Oxford UP, 1989) 163; David Tyack and Elizabeth Hansot, Managers of Virtue: Public School Leadership in America, 1820–1860 (New York: Basic Books, 1982) 65; Mary Beth Norton, “The Evolution of White Women’s Experience in Early America,” American Historical Review 89 (1984): 593–619; Jo Anne Preston, “Domestic Ideology, School Reformers, and Female Teachers: Schoolteaching Becomes Women’s Work in Nineteenth-Century New England,” New England Quarterly 66 (1993): 531–51. How far the combination of the cult of domesticity and the ideology of reading affected actual reading practices in the home is unclear, but based on an examination of book ownership by married and unmarried women in America from 1790 to 1859, Soltow and Stevens conclude that “the data support the contention that the mother was a key figure in teaching reading” (169).
63. Carl F. Kaestle, The Evolution of the Urban School System (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1973); Carl F. Kaestle and Maris A. Vinovskis, Education and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980) 119–20, 250, 262; Soltow and Stevens, 39, 170–72; Zboray, Fictive People 95. On the connection between urbanization and the domestic ideal, see Wortman. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese has demonstrated that the cult of domesticity had a comparatively weaker hold on the plantation and rural South (Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women in the Old South [Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1988] 37–99).
64. On bookstores as a predominately urban institution in antebellum America, see Bode 111–12; and Zboray, Fictive People 136–55. 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 1850 counties of 10,000 or more inhabitants averaged 2.86 libraries, while counties of 1,000 or fewer averaged .37, or one library for every three rural counties (82).
65. Martin 248–54; Zboray, Fictive People 12, 66. 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 1846 issue, urban inhabitants comprised 75 percent of the names.
66. Review of Ruth Hall, by Fanny Fern, Southern Quarterly Review Jan.–Apr. 1855: 440. Important studies of the development of an urban middle class in antebellum America include Burton Bledstein, The Culture of Professionalism: The Middle Class and the Development of Higher Education in America (New York: Norton, 1976); Mary P. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County New York, 1790–1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1981); Karen Halttunen, Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830–1870 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1982); Sellers 364–95; Cindy S. Aron, “The Evolution of the Middle Class,” A Companion to Nineteenth Century America, ed. William L. Barney (Maldon, MA: Blackwell, 2001) 178–91; and esp. Stuart M. Blumin, The Emergence of the Middle Class: Social Experience in the American City, 1760–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989). Although urging caution, Blumin argues that if we approach this designation, not in terms of ownership of the means of production or solely in terms of income categories, but through structures of shared social and cultural experiences that constitute “class consciousness,” the descriptor “middle class” becomes a viable category for differentiating a segment of American society that developed and grew in the forty years before the Civil War.
67. Soltow and Stevens 129, 152; Sellers 367–68; Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class 162–65; and Paul G. Faler, Mechanics and Manufacturers in the Early Industrial Revolution: Lynn, Massachusetts, 1760–1860 (Albany: State U of New York P, 1981) 195–203.
68. On the multiroom home as a predominantly middle-class and urban development, see Mintz 34–35; and Sam Bass Warner Jr., The Private City: Philadelphia in the Three Periods of Its Growth (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1968) 66.
69. For working-class wages in antebellum America, see “Social Statistics,” ms. schedules, New York County, 1850, microfilm AFM-95, box 25, New York State Library; Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine 42 (1860): 752; Robert A. Margo, Wage and Labor Markets in the United States, 1820–1860 (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2000) 11–14, 45; and Martin 177. The penurious condition of working-class women was even worse. Most piecework laborers, a class composed mostly of women, earned in the 1830s about $2 a week, while women factory workers did only slightly better at $3 per week (Mary Ryan, Womanhood in America: From Colonial Times to the Present, 2nd ed. [New York: New Viewpoints, 1979] 122–23). On the slow growth in free public libraries before the Civil War, see Carpenter 311. On the cost of subscription and social libraries, see Jesse H. Shera, Foundations of the Public Library: The Origins of the Public Library Movement in New England, 1629–1855 (1949; Hamden, CT: Shoe String Press, 1965) 77.
70. Zboray, Fictive People 11–12, 145; Charvat, Profession of Authorship 75; Tebbel 243; Johanningsmeier 13; Louise Stevenson, “Homes, Books, and Reading,” Casper et al., eds. The Industrial Book, 1840–1880 320. 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 109–14). 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 1840s provided working-class readers an avenue into print culture. On this new medium and working-class improvisational strategies for securing access to reading materials, see Ronald Zboray, “Technology and the Character of Community Life in Antebellum America: The Role of Story Papers,” Community and Change in American Religious History, ed. Leonard I. Sweet (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993) 185–215; Isabelle Lehuu, Carnival on the Page: Popular Print Media in Antebellum America (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2000) 44–46, 67–68; Zboray and Zboray, Everyday Ideas 116–17, 225–26; and Johanningsmeier 14.
71. Dudden 60–65; Christine Stansell, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789–1860 (New York: Knopf, 1986) 272, n. 6; Jeanne Boydston, Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic (New York: Oxford UP, 1990) 17, 77–79. For a general discussion of the difference in leisure time among classes in nineteenth-century America, see Cross 75–76, 124 and throughout.
72. Dudden 144–45.
73. On the increase in leisure time of middle-class women and its reconfiguration as a new kind of labor under the cult of domesticity, see Barbara Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood, 1820–1860,” American Quarterly 18 (1966): 51–74; Stansell 159 and throughout; Dudden 7, 127–29, and throughout; Matthaei 157, 178; and Cross 103. On the cult of domesticity as primarily a middle-class urban development, see Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1977) 9–13, 50–51, 92–93; Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class 155–65; Fox-Genovese 37–79; and Blumin 179–91.
74. R. Laurence Moore, “Religion, Secularization, and the Shaping of the Culture Industry in Antebellum America,” American Quarterly 41 (1989): 216–42; Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984). On the importance of books and reading as cultural capital for the creation of bourgeois identity and the “symbolic ecology” of the middle-class home, see Richard L. Bushman, The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (New York: Knopf, 1992); Ronald J. Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, “Books, Reading, and the World of Goods in Antebellum New England,” American Quarterly 48 (1996): 587–622; and Lehuu 18, 30.
75. Zboray, Fictive People 122, 205.
76. Zboray, Fictive People 163, table 15. The question of the representativeness of the holdings of the New York Society Library is also germane. For instance, Caritat’s Circulating Library in New York City in the early 1800s listed over a thousand works of fiction among the several thousand volumes in its catalog, figures that put its holdings for fiction closer to 20 percent (Johnson, History of Libraries 318).
77. Review of Ruth Hall, 440. Literary critics and historians who have assumed a predominantly female audience for antebellum fiction include Nina Baym, Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in America, 1820–1870 (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1978) 12–21; and Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Knopf, 1977) 227–55.
78. David Leverenz, Manhood and the American Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1989) 138; Zboray, Fictive People 163–64. Zboray notes, moreover, that although women tended to favor sentimental fiction while men were more likely to read novelists such as Cooper, the library records show that women repeatedly charged novels by Cooper while men regularly checked out sentimental and “feminine” novels (164). 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, 1840–1940 (Rochester: Strong Museum, 1986).
79. Home Journal Dec. 23, 1848: 2; Ladies’ Repository Feb. 1860: 125. Subsequent citations to antebellum periodicals will be given parenthetically in the text. On the hostility toward fiction in the colonial era and in the early republic, see Davidson 38–54; and Terence Martin, The Instructed Vision: Scottish Common Sense Philosophy and the Origins of American Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1961) 57–76. On the changed attitude toward and acceptance of fiction, see also Baym 26–29.
80. John Frow, “After Life; Texts as Usage,” Reception Study Society Second Biannual Conference, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Sept. 29, 2007; Culler, “Prolegomena” 56. See, too, Kintgen 13; and John Fiske and Robert Dawson, “Audiencing Violence,” The Audience and Its Landscape, ed. James Hay, Lawrence Grossberg, and Ellen Wartella (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996) 297–316.
81. It should be noted that few book historians have taken this attitude toward reviews vis-à-vis letters, memoirs, and marginalia; in fact, most hold the contrary view that the latter are superior as a window into “common” and everyday readers. A few book historians, however, have questioned that supposed advantage, pointing out that letters, memoirs, and even marginalia are hardly unalloyed avenues into readers’ private reading practices but are, like reviews, public performances designed to be viewed by others—performances shaped by their own sets of conventions (Rubin 253; Jackson, Romantic Readers 301; Kintgen 63–65; Raymond 190; Rose, “How Historians Study Reader Response” 206; and Scott E. Casper, “Antebellum Reading Prescribed and Described,” Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary, ed. Scott E. Casper, Joanne D. Chaison, and Jeffrey D. Groves [Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2002] 160). 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.g., Kintgen 214; Rose, Intellectual Life 2; St. Clair 5–6).
82. Wallace 26. 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. In their study of reading practices of middle-class families in antebellum Boston, the Zborays argue that these readers had “limited critical vocabularies” for talking about books and that “these readers certainly do not seem to have acquired such a vocabulary from critics” (“ ‘Have You Read… ?’: Real Readers and Their Responses in Antebellum Boston and Its Regions,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 52 : 148). However, the responses the Zborays discover cause them to admit, in a note following their claim about a lack of reviewer influence, that there are substantial “commonalities between the discourse of reviewers and readers” in their sample. Indeed, in another study of antebellum New England readers, the Zborays write that “[i]n an effort to learn more about works … readers often turned to reviews” (“Transcendentalism in Print”).
83. On the middle-class “ethos” of antebellum periodicals and their roles in the formation of bourgeois culture, see Cheryl D. Bohde, “ ‘Magazines as a Powerful Element of Civilization’: An Exploration of the Ideology of Literary Magazines, 1830–1859,” American Periodicals 1 (1991): 34–45. On the connection between periodicals and the “cultural universe” of the middle class in nineteenth-century America, see also Denning 46.
84. In designating the interpretive practices of reviewers and magazine essayists as components of a “public sphere” of interpretation, I am using that term somewhat analogously to the way Jürgen Habermas has employed it to designate a social or cultural (not physical) space in which access (in theory) is guaranteed to all (The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Culture, trans. Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence [Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989]). Originally developed in the seventeenth century to encompass “the lecteurs, spectateurs, and auditeurs as the addressees and consumers, and the critics of art and literature” (31), the public sphere had grown and increased in power via the mass culture of print in the nineteenth century. 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.
85. Charvat, Profession of Authorship 314, 3.
86. Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson (New York: Library of America, 1984) 1118.
1. On the fear among antebellum educators about the dangerous ramifications of literacy, see Lee Soltow and Edward Stevens, The Rise of Literacy and the Common School in the United States: A Socioeconomic Analysis to 1870 (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981) 60–61. This concern about the social dangers of reading—and particularly novel reading—was shared outside the public sphere as well. For example, Scott E. Casper quotes the following from an 1835 diary entry of one Michael Floy, a resident of Bowery Village, New York: “I fully believe novels and romances have made a greater part of the prostitutes of the world, to say nothing of the many miserable matches” (“Antebellum Reading Prescribed and Described,” Perspectives on American Book History: Artifacts and Commentary, ed. Scott E. Casper, Joanne D. Chaison, and Jeffrey D. Groves [Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2002] 145–46).
2. In this formulation of purpose, American reviewers mirrored the practice of British magazinists and critics, who, as Patrick Parrinder points out, “saw themselves as middlemen in an essentially corporate process of production and consumption” (Authors and Authority: English and American Criticism, 1750–1900 [New York; MacMillan, 1991] 121).
3. 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. An 1853 article in Putnam’s Magazine, e.g., defined reviewing as an examination of a specific work or works but designated criticism as a more theoretical or general treatment of literary genres or literature as a whole. However, John Paul Pritchard points out that “this distinction … was almost completely ignored in general practice” (Literary Wise Men of Gotham: Criticism in New York, 1815–1860 [Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1963] 85).
4. William Charvat was one of the first to define antebellum literary criticism, especially in periodicals, as exercising a self-appointed “watchdog” function (The Origins of American Critical Thought, 1810–1835 [1936; New York: Russell and Russell, 1968] 7–26 and 107). Hazel Dickson-Garcia has applied the same term to antebellum journalism as a whole, arguing that from 1830 to 1850 “the emphasis on the press’s ‘watchdog’ function … grew” as a result of a shift in the press’s role from overt political partisanship to an “information or news role,” which “emphasized … providing the individual with information useful in life’s conduct” (Journalistic Standards in Nineteenth-Century America [Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1989] 106–7). 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. Bohde, “ ‘Magazines as Powerful Element of Civilization’: An Exploration of the Ideology of Literary Magazines, 1830–1860,” American Periodicals 1 (1991): 34–45; Nina Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers: Responses to Fiction in Antebellum America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1984) 30; and Terence Martin, The Instructed Vision: Scottish Common Sense Philosophy and the Origins of American Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1961) 11–12 and throughout.
5. New York Mirror, qtd. in Pritchard 87.
6. 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. This foundational work includes Charvat’s Origins of American Critical Thought; Pritchard’s Literary Wise Men of Gotham; Martin’s The Instructed Vision; John Stafford’s The Literary Criticism of “Young America”: A Study in the Relationship of Politics and Literature, 1837–1850 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1952); Richard H. Fogle’s “Organic Form in American Criticism: 1840–1870,” The Development of American Literary Criticism, ed. Floyd Stovall (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1955), 75–111; Perry Miller’s The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wit in the Era of Poe and Melville (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1956); Sidney Moss’s Poe’s Literary Battles: The Critic in the Context of His Literary Milieu (Durham: Duke UP, 1963); and, as the most wide-ranging and sustained work in this group, Nina Baym’s Novels, Readers, and Reviewers. 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. For one thing, while this scholarship has concentrated on particular critical battles, the intellectual basis of antebellum criticism, or the poetics of reviewers, my focus is on reviewers’ interpretive strategies as they entailed assumptions about the way reading should proceed, the type of fiction readers that existed, the ways fiction engaged the audience, and the roles it implied for its readers. Only Baym has addressed briefly the second and third of these four dimensions of antebellum reviewing, but it has been in the form of examining reviewers’ conceptions of the work fiction did or should do on its readers. While that element inevitably is part of my concern, my emphasis is on reviewers’ ideas about the work readers should do on fiction. 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.
7. Baym extensively discusses reviewers’ emphasis on the primacy of entertainment as a function of their conception that plot was the defining feature of the novel (Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 24, 63–82).
8. These three functions, according to Steven Mailloux, mark the categories in which all communicative conventions fall (Interpretive Conventions: The Reader in the Study of American Fiction [Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1982] 126–39).
9. On this characterization of fiction readers in eighteenth-century English reviews, see Joseph F. Bartolomeo, A New Species of Criticism: Eighteenth-Century Discourse on the Novel (Newark: U of Delaware P; London: Associated U Presses, 1994) 114–16. Regarding the broader impact of British periodicals on antebellum reviewers in the United States, see Charvat 28 ff.
10. On nineteenth-century working-class Americans and fiction reading, the best study remains Michael Denning’s Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America (London: Verso, 1987).
11. An interesting implication of this assumption is that antebellum reviewers, though not invoking the term, anticipated Gerald Prince’s 1970s concept of the “narratee” (“Introduction to the Study of the Narratee,” Poetique 14 : 177–96).
12. Pritchard, Literary Wise Men of Gotham; Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers. See also the other studies cited in note 6.
13. On this point, see Pritchard 78–81; and Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 24, 65–69. 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.
14. Roland Barthes, S/Z, trans. Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1974) 19, 75. 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. The same is true of Barthes’s other codes.
15. For antebellum reviews of The Scarlet Letter, see J. Donald Crowley, ed., Hawthorne: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970) 155–64.
16. On this terminological morass, see Michael Davitt Bell, The Development of American Romance: The Sacrifice of Relation (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1980) 3–36; and Nina Baym, “Concepts of the Romance in Hawthorne’s America,” Nineteenth-Century Fiction 38 (1984): 426–43. For a contrary view of antebellum genre designations, particularly as they involve a “notable consistency” in reviewer distinctions between romance and novel, see G. R. Thompson and Eric Carl Link, Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1999) 85–104.
17. On these three as common categories in antebellum reviews, see Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 196–223, 235–41. 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.
18. For related and in some cases parallel discussion of reviewers’ conceptions of advocacy novels, see Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 213–23.
19. Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 61. Recently, Suzy Anger has made a similar claim about British reviewers in the first half of the nineteenth century (Victorian Interpretation [Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2005] 132). By contrast, John Paul Pritchard asserted, almost twenty years before Baym’s remark, that New York magazinists of this era believed “the proper way of telling a story, however it might be stated, required that it have some degree of meaning” (65).
20. 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. Based on data from over a thousand letters, diaries, and other manuscripts, the Zborays assert, “Few populations have made literature and the ideas they got from it as much a part of their daily lives” (Everyday Ideas: Socioliterary Experience among Antebellum New Englanders [Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2006] xvi).
21. Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Experience (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978) 173.
22. Antebellum periodical readers could have gained a familiarity with such emblematic reading of flowers from magazines themselves. See, e.g., the articles on the “Language of Flowers” in the Home Journal May 9, 1846: 4 (no pag.) and July 12, 1851: 4 (no pag.). For a relevant discussion of the widespread familiarity with “flower symbolism” (or more accurately, the emblematic use of flower imagery) among antebellum readers and its relevance to fiction reading, see Susan Harris, Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Novels: Interpretive Strategies (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990) 80–82.
23. Roland Barthes, Mythologies, trans. Annette Lavers (1957; New York: Hill and Wang, 1972) 155.
24. Pritchard 64–68; Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 124–28.
25. Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 119. Over the last seven to eight years, other scholars also have pointed out this antebellum equation of—or tendency to conflate—authors and fictional narrators: Barbara Hochman, Getting at the Author: Reimagining Books and Reading in the Age of American Realism (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2001) 12–15; Cree LeFavour, “Jane Eyre Fever: Deciphering the Astonishing Success of Charlotte Bronté in Antebellum America,” Book History 7 (2004): 115–27; and Susan S. Williams, “Authors and Literary Authorship,” The Industrial Book, 1840–1880, vol. 3 of The History of the Book in America, ed. Scott E. Casper, Jeffrey Groves, Stephen W. Nissenbaum, and Michael Winship (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2007) 105–6.
26. Although auto-biographical was the common antebellum designation, occasionally the more modern term first-person was employed. Poe, e.g., used it in one of his New York Literati sketches in Godey’s. See Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson (New York: Library of America, 1984) 1209.
27. This claim is made by Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 147–48. One reason for the absence among reviewers of the very term unreliable narrator may be that it was not invented until the second half of the twentieth century, according to Wayne Booth, who has asserted that he coined that descriptor in the “late fifties” (“Narrative Theory: Two Stories,” “Looking Backward, Looking Forward: MLA Members Speak,” PMLA 115 : 1992–93).
28. On the early-to-mid-nineteenth-century assumption that reading (through) fiction involved getting to know the author, see Hochman 11–28.
29. Pritchard 84, 87–88, and throughout. The founding document for this method of response appears to have been George Allen’s “Reproductive Criticism,” New York Review 1838: 49–75. Regarding the alternative designations for this form of response, as well as its prominence among magazinists and critics of the “Young America” movement, see Stafford 39–53.
30. For this idea among reviewers, see also Pritchard 72, who briefly discusses similar reminders in the New York Mirror and the Knickerbocker Magazine.
31. 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. I should note here that the remainder of my discussion of strategies shaping informed response to character in antebellum America parallels several of Baym’s and Pritchard’s points. What I have sought to emphasize, however, are different dimensions of these principles and, especially, the way they functioned as interpretive strategies for guiding and promoting the public formation of “informed” response at that time.
32. Regarding nineteenth-century magazinists’ efforts to empower, rather than discipline, women readers, see Jennifer Phegley, Educating the Proper Woman Reader: Victorian Family Literary Magazines and the Cultural Health of the Nation (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2004) 2, 27, and 31–69.
33. Daniel R. Schwarz, The Humanistic Tradition: Critical Theories of the English Novel from James to Hillis Miller (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1986).
CHAPTER THREE: “These Days of Double Dealing”
1. Writings in the Broadway Journal, vols. 3 and 4 of The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Burton Pollin (New York: Gordian, 1986) 3: 25. Poe reiterated this idea in one of his Marginalia pieces in Graham’s in Dec. 1846 (Edgar Allan Poe: Essays and Reviews, ed. G. R. Thompson [New York: Library of America, 1984] 1414, hereafter cited parenthetically as ER). On Poe’s conception of the importance of periodicals, see also Kevin J. Hayes, Poe and the Printed Word (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000) 93, 115. Regarding Poe’s career as a magazinist within the antebellum literary marketplace, see Jonathan Hartmann, The Marketing of Edgar Allan Poe (New York: Routledge, 2008) 2–10.
2. Poe to J. P. Kennedy, June 21, 1841, The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. John Ward Ostrom, 2 vols. (New York: Gordian, 1966) 1: 164. Poe repeated this claim in letters to Irving, Longfellow, and Fitz-Greene Halleck (Letters 1: 162–70).
3. See also the review of Cooper’s Wyandotté, in which Poe equates popularity in fiction with the ephemeral and a feeling of “something very nearly akin to contempt” (ER 480).
4. Classic studies of Poe as critical maverick include Perry Miller, The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wits in the Era of Poe and Melville (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956); Sidney P. Moss, Poe’s Literary Battles (Durham: Duke UP, 1963); and Robert D. Jacobs, Poe: Journalist and Critic (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969).
5. Poe’s public battles with reviewers, particularly from New England, began as early 1836 with his Drake-Halleck review in the Southern Literary Messenger (see ER 505–39). But his plan for the critical component of the aborted Folio Club Tales, which he explained in 1833 was “intended as a burlesque upon criticism,” indicates that at the very start of his career Poe conceived himself in a fight with the critical “establishment” (Poe to Joseph T. Buckingham and Edwin Buckingham, May 4, 1833, Letters 1: 52).
6. J. Lasley Dameron, “Poe, Plagiarism, and American Periodicals,” Poe Studies 30, no. 1/2 (June 1997): 40. See also Meredith McGill, American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting: 1834–53 (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2003) 199.
7. On the currency of this idea among antebellum reviewers, see Nina Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers: Responses to Fiction in Antebellum America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1984) 35–36, 40.
8. Writings in the Broadway Journal 3: 67; Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. James A. Harrison, 17 vols. (New York: DeFau, 1902) 8: 71. On Poe’s belief that magazinists were to serve as guides and mediators for the reading public, see James M. Hutchisson, Poe (Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2005) 110.
9. Complete Works 15: 200.
10. Complete Works 10: 98.
11. Poe’s objections to immoral and sensational fiction also have been pointed out by David S. Reynolds, Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville (New York: Knopf, 1988), who observes that “dismay at the wildness and repulsiveness” of some American fiction “is a common thread running through much of Poe’s literary criticism” (227–28).
12. Complete Works 8:42. Regarding Poe’s view on didacticism in fiction, Michael Allen in his study of Poe and English periodicals pointed out that “Poe’s essentially conservative tendency” caused him “to see fiction as a species of learning” (Poe and the British Magazine Tradition [New York: Oxford UP, 1969] 84.
13. Although Poe articulated his theories about effect and aesthetic power in the 1840s, even earlier in his career he espoused those principles. See, e.g., his review of Dickens in the Southern Literary Messenger in June 1836 (ER 204–7). For a parallel concern with effect among antebellum reviewers, see Baym 141. One reason for this convergence between Poe and other reviewers may have been that all were drawing on a common source: August Wilhelm Schlegel. Arthur Hobson Quinn has suggested that articles on Schlegel in the North American Review “may well have given Poe direction” for his theory of effect (Edgar Allan Poe: A Critical Biography [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1941] 243). For discussions of Schlegel as a source for Poe’s ideas, see Jacobs 115–16; Kenneth Silverman, Edgar Allan Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance (New York: Harper Collins, 1991) 166; and Thomas S. Hansen and Burton R. Pollin, The German Face of Edgar Allan Poe (Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1995) 91–94.
14. Stephen Railton, Authorship and Audience: Literary Performance in the American Renaissance (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991) 133, 138. In also noting that Poe’s conception of authorship “suggests a man who raged above all for control,” James Hutchisson speculates that such an idea was “as much a cover-up as anything else for Poe’s lack of control” (169–70).
15. On Poe’s concern over the way audience activities within the new mass market of fiction threatened mastery over the writer, see Michael J. S. Williams, A World of Words: Language and Displacement in the Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe (Durham: Duke UP, 1988) 45–49. Williams argues that Poe located the danger in the nature of language itself, specifically in the “potential surplus of meaning that threatens to overflow the constraints of intention” (48). 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. An analogous argument to Williams’s appears in Jonathan Auerbach, “Poe’s Other Double: The Reader in the Fiction,” Criticism 24 (1982): 343.
16. 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 Michael Newbury, Figuring Authorship in Antebellum America (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1997); Kenneth Dauber, The Idea of Authorship in Antebellum America: Democratic Poetics from Franklin to Melville (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1990); and Railton. An earlier benchmark study of this issue for antebellum women writers is Mary Kelley’s Private Women, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford UP, 1984). For a discussion of similar anxieties among early nineteenth-century British writers, see Lucy Newlyn, Reading, Writing, and Romanticism: The Anxiety of Reception (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000).
17. Several critics have read Poe’s tales as thematizations or allegories of his battles with the reader. See, esp., Williams; Railton 132–51; and J. Gerald Kennedy, Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing (New Haven: Yale UP, 1987) 116–17. For a different but parallel view, see Hartmann, who argues that Poe conceived the writer’s relation with readers not so much as a battle but as a two-pronged engagement, which involved overtly pleasing and covertly “diddling” the audience (31–33).
18. Terence Whalen, Edgar Allan Poe and the Masses: The Political Economy of Literature in Antebellum American (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999) 91–92; Benjamin Fisher, Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2008) 57. Other proponents of this second argument include Louis A. Renza, “Poe’s Secret Autobiography,” The American Renaissance Reconsidered, ed. Walter Benn Michaels and Donald Pease (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1985) 67; David R. Saliba, A Psychology of Fear: The Nightmare Formula of Edgar Allan Poe (Lanham, MD: UP of America, 1980) 4; Peter Garrett, Gothic Reflections: Narrative Force in Nineteenth-Century Fiction (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2003) 37; and Allen 191. Interestingly, earlier in his study (36) Allen also espouses the former argument about specific texts targeted to each audience.
19. Poe’s growing conviction about the union of imagination and analysis as a desideratum of the artistic experience is discussed in David Ketterer, The Rationale of Deception in Poe (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1979) 238.
20. Williams 65.
21. Southern Literary Messenger May 1835, Baltimore Republican July 10, 1835, and Baltimore Gazette Aug. 7, 1835, qtd. in Dwight Thomas and David K. Jackson, The Poe Log: A Documentary Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1809–1849 (Boston: Hall, 1987) 155, 169, 164, respectively. 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.
22. New York Corsair Dec. 1839, rpt. in Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments, ed. Graham Clarke, 4 vols. (Mourtfield, UK: Helm, 1991) 2: 102.
23. On the absence of the term gothic in the lexicon of antebellum reviewers’ comments on fiction, see Baym 201. Michael Gamer has pointed out that in early nineteenth-century Britain, gothic had also not taken on its modern meaning as a genre category (Romanticism and the Gothic: Genre, Reception, and Canon Formation [Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000] 2, 49.
24. Compiler remark as reprinted in Southern Literary Messenger Apr. 1836: 345.
25. These characters are from, respectively, “Duc de L’Omlette,” “A Tale of Jerusalem,” “Loss of Breath,” “Lionizing,” and “King Pest.”
26. Such parallels were well documented by modern Poe scholars during the time when source-and-influence studies were central to the profession. Most of those parallels are included in the notes to the tales in Tales and Sketches, vols. 2–3 of Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1978).
27. On the subgenre of Germanic satire and its extent in the early nineteenth century, see Bruce I. Weiner, “Poe and the Blackwood’s Tale of Sensation,” Poe and His Times: The Artist and His Milieu, ed. Benjamin Franklin Fisher IV (Baltimore: Poe Society, 1990) 56–57; and G. R. Thompson, Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1973) 73. Although Thompson refers to this subgenre by the modern designation of “gothic satire,” Weiner calls such tales “burlesques of … the kind of sensationalism Blackwood’s promoted” in its tales of “German metaphysics.”
28. Mabbott, Tales and Sketches 2:18. All subsequent references to Poe’s tales will be to this edition and will be given parenthetically in the discussion.
29. Thompson 55–56, 64–65.
30. Critics who have read “Metzengerstein” as a spoof or gothic hoax include Thompson 52–65; Edward H. Davidson, Poe: A Critical Study (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 1957) 137–38; and Stuart Levine and Susan Levine, “Slapstick Gothic,” The Short Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Stuart Levine and Susan Levine (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976) 294–95. For contrary arguments for the seriousness of the story as gothic fiction, see Quinn 192–93; Edd Winfield Parks, Edgar Allan Poe as Literary Critic (Athens: U of Georgia P, 1964) 24; and Benjamin Franklin Fisher, “Poe’s ‘Metzengerstein’: Not a Hoax,” American Literature 42 (1971): 487–94.
31. Courier and Enquirer remark as reprinted in Southern Literary Messenger Dec. 1835, PL 180.
32. Paulding to White, Mar. 3, 1836, The Letters of James Kirk Paulding, ed. Ralph M. Aderman (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1962) 173–74.
33. Southern Literary Messenger June 1835: 335, rpt. in Edgar Allan Poe: The Critical Heritage, ed. Ian Walker (London: Routledge, 1986) 81. Philip Cooke, one of Poe’s correspondents, pointed to the same trait in a letter to Poe years later (Cooke to Poe, Aug. 4, 1846, Complete Works 17: 262).
34. Kennedy to Poe, Feb. 9, 1836, Complete Works 17: 28.
35. James M. Garnett to Thomas Willis White, June 22, 1835 PL 159; on the Harpers’ judgment, see Quinn 250–51.
36. Poe to Kennedy, Feb. 11, 1836, Letters 1: 84; Poe to Hill, Sept. 2, 1836, Letters 1: 103.
37. Poe to White, Apr. 30, 1835, Letters 1: 57–58.
38. Kent P. Ljungquist, “Poe in the Boston Newspapers: Three More Reviews,” English Language Notes 31, no. 2 (Dec. 1993): 45.
39. Poe to Snodgrass, Nov. 11, 1839, Letters 1: 121.
40. “Preface,” Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, Mabbott, Tales and Sketches 2: 473–74. Quotations in the next paragraph are also from these pages.
41. McGill 198.
42. The two other stories with major revisions, mostly in the form of deletions, were “A Decided Loss” (retitled as “Loss of Breath”) and “The Bargain Lost” (retitled as “Bon-Bon”). For the changes in these two stories as well as detailed information about alterations in the other twenty-three stories collected in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, see the bibliographical notes in Mabbott, Tales and Sketches 2: 18–471.
43. This narrative as the central paradigm for Poe’s career goes back at least as far as Fred Lewis Pattee’s discussion of Poe’s fiction in The Development of the American Short Story (New York: Harper, 1923) 124–37. For this paradigm and its prevalence, see also William Howarth, introduction, Twentieth-Century Interpretations of Poe’s Tales, ed. William Howarth (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971) 7. In his recent Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe, Benjamin Fisher subscribes to the view that Poe began as a writer of comic fiction, but Fisher also admits that these early tales “elicited mixed responses from readers, who were puzzled by the mix of comic and Gothic elements” (50–58). My conviction is that readers before 1839 were not puzzled but instead interpretively privileged the comedic as the distinguishing mode of Poe’s tales.
44. For “Hans Pfaall,” see Ketterer 84–85; for “Metzengerstein” see the works cited in note 32 above. Those who view “The Assignation” as serious include Pattee 123, 128–29; Daniel Hoffman, Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972) 218; Benjamin Franklin Fisher, “To ‘The Assignation’ from ‘The Visionary’ (Part Two): The Revisions and Related Matters,” Library Chronicle 40 (1976): 221–51; and Mabbott, Tales and Sketches 2: 149. Comic readings of the tale include Davidson 500; Richard Benton, “Is Poe’s ‘The Assignation’ a Hoax?” Nineteenth-Century Fiction 18 (1963): 193–97; and Thompson 126–30. For the double view of “Ms. Found in a Bottle,” see Fisher, “To ‘The Assignation’ from ‘The Visionary’ ” 221; and Donald B. Stauffer, “The Two Styles of Poe’s ‘Ms. Found in a Bottle,’ ” Style 1 (1967): 107–20. Other modern scholars who have contributed to the debate over whether the Folio Club Tales are all comic or a mixture of serious and comic include Allen 124–26; J. S. Wilson, “The Devil Was in It,” American Mercury 24 (1931): 215–20; Jay B. Hubbell, “The Literary Apprenticeship of Edgar Allan Poe,” Southern Literary Journal 2 (1969): 99–105; Fisher, Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe 52–55; and Hartmann 59–81. Hartmann coins the term light gothic to designate the genre of the Folio Club tales (59).
45. Hoffman 210. See also Sidney Lind, “Poe and Mesmerism,” PMLA 62 (1947): 1094; and Bernard Drabek, “ ‘Tarr and Fether’—Poe and Abolitionism,” ATQ 14 (1972): 177–84. About these diametrically opposed interpretations, Benjamin F. Fisher recently observed that “[d]ebates over what is serious, what comic, in Poe’s fiction continue to the present day” (“Poe and the Gothic Tradition,” Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Kevin J. Hayes [Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002] 80).
46. Benjamin Franklin Fisher, “Playful ‘Germanism’ in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher,” Ruined Eden of the Present: Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, ed. G. R. Thompson and Virgil L. Lokke (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 1981) 355–74; George S. Soule Jr., “Byronism in Poe’s ‘Metzengerstein’ and ‘William Wilson,’ ” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 24 (1978): 158–61; Clark Griffith, “Poe’s ‘Ligeia’ and the English Romantics,” University of Toronto Quarterly 24 (1954–1955): 8–25; and James M. Cox, “Edgar Poe: Style as Pose,” Virginia Quarterly Review 44 (1968): 67–89.
47. The most sustained case for such readings of Poe’s tales is by Thompson, who claims that “the burlesque, or ambiguously burlesque, intent is constant in Poe’s fiction” (137). See also Williams, who asserts that “almost all his texts are shot through with what we might call parodic self-criticism” (66).
48. Stuart Levine, introduction, Levine and Levine, The Short Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe xix.
49. On the decline in popularity of gothic fiction, see Allen 139. More telling are the statistics of Oral Sumner Coad, “The Gothic Element in American Literature Before 1835,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 24 (1925): 72–93. Despite his claim that gothic literature enjoyed “one of the most prolific periods in America before reaching its apogee in the hands of Poe and Hawthorne,” Coad’s data tell a different story: Of the sixty poems, works of fiction, and plays he lists, only ten appeared after 1830.
50. Greg Laderman, Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799–1883 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1996) esp. 24, 74–76.
51. On increases in urban violence, particularly in the form of riots during this time, see Michael Feldberg, The Turbulent Era: Riot and Disorder in Jacksonian America (New York: Oxford UP, 1980) 4–5. For the convergence of this rioting and the effects of the 1837 panic, see Thomas R. Heitela, Manifest Design: Anxious Aggrandisement in Late Jacksonian America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985) 109.
52. M. J. Heale, American Anticommunism: Combating the Enemy Within, 1830–1970 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1990), 8.
53. The link among fear of Catholic conspiracies, concerns about Irish and German immigration, and “Gothic alarmism” in the United States in the late 1830s and early 1840s is discussed in Jenny Franchot, Roads to Rome: The Antebellum Protestant Encounter with Catholicism (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1994) 101–2.
54. Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 2: 78, 81, 76, 77.
55. See, e.g., the Saturday Courier Aug. 4, 1838, PL 250.
56. For the Knickerbocker review, see Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 2: 76. On reviewer uncertainty over how to read Pym, see also Fisher, Cambridge Introduction to Edgar Allan Poe 114. For a more detailed discussion of the antebellum reception of Pym, see Burton Pollin, “Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and the Contemporary Reviews,” Studies in American Fiction 1 (1974): 37–56.
57. Complete Works 8: 231.
58. Heath to Poe, Sept. 12, 1839, PL 270; Irving to Poe, Nov. 6, 1839, PL 275.
59. Cooke to Poe, Dec. 19, 1839, PL 283.
60. Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (New York: Oxford UP, 1991) 251 ff.
61. This expression of Glanville’s idea by the narrator occurs only in the initial 1839 version of the tale (see Mabbott, Tales and Sketches 2: 318 n.).
62. Twentieth-century interpretations of the narrator of “Ligeia” as unreliable have been common, beginning with Roy Basler, “The Interpretation of ‘Ligeia,’ ” College English 5 (1944): 363–72. See, e.g., Joel Porte, The Romance in America (Middleton, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1969); James W. Gargano, “Poe’s ‘Ligeia’: Dream and Destruction,” College English 23 (1962): 335–42; Terry Heller, The Delights of Terror: An Aesthetics of the Tale of Terror (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1987) 114–26; and Thompson 80–82.
63. Cooke to Poe, Sept. 16, 1839, Complete Works 17: 49–50.
64. Several Poe critics have argued for a formalist version of this match by asserting that the disoriented narrators of “Ligeia,” “Usher,” and “William Wilson” serve as textual models for Poe’s ideal reader: e.g., Heller 170; and Ronald Bieganowski, “The Self-Consuming Narrator in Poe’s ‘Ligeia’ and ‘Usher,’ ” American Literature 60 (1988): 185.
65. Poe to Cooke, Sept. 21, 1839, Letters 1: 118. For these revisions and continuities in “Ligeia,” see the variorum edition in Mabbott, Tales and Sketches 2: 308–34.
66. Poe to Cooke, Sept. 21, 1839, Letters 1: 118; Poe to Thomas, Nov. 23, 1840, Letters 1: 148.
67. Hoffman 197. Hoffman’s claim, however, may be less than definitive, given the number of different targets modern critics have put forward as the object of the story’s satire. Cf. Reynolds 527; William Whipple, “Poe’s Political Satire,” University of Toronto Studies in English 35 (1956): 81–95; Ronald T. Curran, “The Fashionable Thirties: Poe’s Satire in ‘The Man That Was Used Up,’ ” Markham Review 8 (1978): 14–20; Richard Alekka, “ ‘The Man That Was Used Up’: Further Notes on Poe’s Satirical Targets,” Poe Studies 12 (1979): 36; and Gary Lindberg, The Confidence Man in American Literature (New York: Oxford UP, 1982) 53–54.
68. Silverman points out that “Julius Rodman,” which appeared over six issues in the Broadway Journal, succeeded “well enough as a hoax … to have been cited as factual in an 1840 U.S. Senate document on the Oregon Territory” (Edgar Allan Poe 147).
69. Poe to Joseph E. Snodgrass, Sept. 19, 1841, Letters 1: 183. For a reading of “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” as a parody of reform literature, see Reynolds 528.
70. Poe to Philip Cooke, Aug. 9, 1846, Letters 2: 328.
71. American Review Sept. 1845, Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 2: 162–63.
72. Poe to Philip Cooke, Aug. 9, 1846, Letters 2: 328–29.
73. Norman Dain, Concepts of Insanity in the United States, 1789–1865 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1964) 75, but see also 49–50, 73–74. A more recent discussion of these developments and their relation to narratives of crime in antebellum America comes in Karen Halttunen, Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1998) 215–17.
74. On the relation among the Mercer trial, Poe’s familiarity with the insanity defense, and these two stories, see John Cleman, “Irresistible Impulses: Edgar Allan Poe and the Insanity Defense,” American Literature 63 (1991): 623–40. Although Cleman’s analysis is substantially different from mine, in that he uses this historical context to argue that Poe’s two stories are about these issues, his discussion has aided my thinking about the context for the antebellum reception of these tales.
75. On the growth of crime fiction on the 1840s, see David Brion Davis, Homicide in American Fiction, 1790–1860: A Study in Social Values (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1957) 259.
76. Graham’s Sept. 1845, Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 2: 166.
77. Reynolds 176.
78. Ketterer 102.
79. Jonathan Elmer, Reading at the Social Limit: Affect, Mass Culture, and Edgar Allan Poe (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995) 129.
80. Halttunen 145.
81. On the temperance movement as a development of bourgeois ideology for promoting social discipline, particularly to meet the needs of capitalist transformation, see Sellers 259–68.
82. On the advent of the sympathetic view of the alcoholic in the 1840s, see T. J. Matheson, “Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ as a Critique of Temperance Literature,” Mosaic 19, no. 3 (Summer 1986): 70.
83. Literary Annual Register 1845, Walker, Edgar Allan Poe: The Critical Heritage 199.
84. Blackwood’s Nov. 1847, Walker, Edgar Allan Poe: The Critical Heritage 220.
85. Poe to Cooke, Aug. 9, 1846, Letters 2: 236.
86. Poe to Duyckinck, Mar. 8, 1849, Letters 2: 433.
87. Poe to Duyckinck 433; ER 1367; Poe to an unnamed correspondent in London, circa Apr. 1846, PL 631.
88. On the public responses, see “Edgar Allan Poe,” Southern Literary Messenger Jan. 1848: 36; PL 468, 567; and Robert C. Fuller, Mesmerism and the American Cure of Souls (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1982) 37–38. For the inquiries by Whitman and Eveleth, see, respectively, PL 619; and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, ed., “The Letters of George W. Eveleth to Edgar Allan Poe,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library 26 (1922): 174. Among those writing to Poe was a Robert H. Collyer of Boston, who told him, “Your account of M. Valdemar’s case has been universally copied in this city, and has created a very great sensation. It requires from me no apology, in stating, that I have not the least doubt of the possibility of such a phenomenon” (Collyer to Poe, Dec. 16, 1845, Complete Works 17: 225).
89. Poe to Arch Ramsey, Dec. 30, 1846, Letters 2: 337. For Poe’s public gloating, see Writings in the Broadway Journal 3: 254 and ER 1430–31.
90. Sidney Lind, “Poe and Mesmerism,” PMLA 62 (1947): 1094.
91. Tribune, qtd. by Poe, “Editorial Miscellany,” Writings in the Broadway Journal 3: 340; PL 587, 621.
92. Courier, qtd. in Esther F. Hyneman, “The Contemporaneous Reputation of Edgar Allan Poe with Annotated Bibliography of Poe Criticism: 1827–1967,” diss., Columbia U, 1968, 45; Southern Patriot, Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 2: 28.
93. Knickerbocker, qtd. in Burton Pollin, “Poe ‘Viewed and Reviewed’: An Annotated Checklist of Contemporary Notices,” Poe Studies 13, no. 2 (Dec. 1980): 25.
94. Harbinger July 1845, Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 2: 154; Compiler June 1845, rpt. in Burton R. Pollin, “The Richmond Compiler and Poe in 1845: Two Hostile Notices,” Poe Studies 18, no. 1 (June 1985): 6.
95. See Knickerbocker May 1846: 421; and PL 624, 633–35. For brief discussions of these responses and of libelous representations of Poe (in both fiction and nonfiction) in the 1840s, see Hyneman 47–48; and Ian Walker, “The Poe Legend,” Companion to Poe Studies, ed. Eric W. Carlson (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996) 22–23. Stories of Poe’s dissolute habits had apparently surfaced as early as 1840, circulated by William Burton, proprietor of Burton’s Gentlemen’s Magazine, at the termination of Poe’s editorship of that periodical (see Quinn 301–3).
96. Eveleth to Poe, Jan. 11, 1846, PL 716.
97. That impact resulted in part because within weeks of its Oct. 9, 1849, appearance in the New York Daily Tribune, Griswold’s defamatory article was reprinted in whole or in part in at least a dozen periodicals and newspapers around the country, including the National Anti-Slavery Standard, the Chicago Weekly Democrat, the New York Evening Mirror, the Oregon Spectator, the Cleveland True Democrat, the Richmond Enquirer, and the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper (Burton Pollin, “A Posthumous Assessment: The 1849–1850 Periodical Press Response to Edgar Allan Poe,” American Periodicals 2 : 6–50).
98. Model American Courier Oct. 1849, Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 1: 85.
99. National Magazine Mar. 1853, qtd. in Burton Pollin, “The Temperance Movement and Its Friends Look at Poe,” Costerus 2 (1972): 138. Pollin notes that “one of the oft-reprinted sermonizing notices of Poe’s death was entitled ‘Genius and Gin’ ” (“Posthumous Assessment” 8). One of the few antebellum readers to question such reading from text to author was one of Poe’s defenders, George Graham, who asserted that Poe’s character and temperament “were in no way reflected in or connected with his writings” (Graham’s Magazine Feb. 1854: 219).
100. Sarah Helen Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe and His Critics, rpt. in Clarke, Edgar Allan Poe: Critical Assessments 1: 174, 172. The fact that Whitman was for a short time engaged to Poe may well have played a role in her romanticized version of him as the misunderstood, troubled genius.
101. Recent examples of the scholarly tendency to equate Poe and his narrators—or at minimum, to read Poe’s life (and death) through the phantasmagoric events and characters of his fiction—include Jeffrey Meyers, Edgar A. Poe: His Life and Legacy (New York: Scribners, 1992) 253 ff.; Kenneth Silverman, introduction, New Essays on Poe’s Major Tales, ed. Kenneth Silverman (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993) 1–26; and Hutchisson 49–53, 78–79, 88–89, 95–96, 164–65, and 235–36. On twentieth-century popular conceptions and mass-culture representations of Poe as the obsessive, alcoholic, drug-addled writer whose stories reflect his own macabre perversity, see Mark Neimeyer, “Poe and Popular Culture,” Hayes Cambridge Companion to Poe, 205–16, 219–20.
CHAPTER FOUR: Multiple Audiences and Melville’s Fiction
1. This dimension of Melville’s writing has been repeatedly noted by Melville critics beginning with Eleanor Melville Metcalf, Herman Melville: Cycle and Epicycle (1953; rpt. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1970), 173; and William Charvat, The Profession of Authorship in America, 1800–1870, ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli (New York: Columbia UP, 1958) 266–67. See also Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Knopf, 1977) 293; Warwick Wadlington, The Confidence Game in American Literature (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1975) 424–46; John Bryant, Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance (New York: Oxford UP, 1993) ix; and, more recently, Sheila Post, “Melville and the Marketplace,” Historical Guide to Herman Melville, ed. Giles Gunn (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005) 105–32.
2. Melville’s oral story-telling experiences and abilities, both aboard ships and amid family members, are discussed in Metcalf 172; Leon Howard, Herman Melville: A Biography (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California Press; London: Cambridge UP, 1951) 91–92; Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Melville: A Biography (New York: Clarkson Potter, 1996) 134; and Hershel Parker, Herman Melville: A Biography, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996–2002) 1: 264, 309–11, and 354–55.
3. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker, introduction, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995) ix. Regarding Melville’s relation to the periodical milieu and its editors, particularly via his friendship with Evert Duyckinck, see Perry Miller, The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wits in the Era of Poe and Melville (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1956) 260–79 and throughout.
4. See, e.g., Parker, Herman Melville 1: 835; F. O. Matthiessen, The American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman (1941; New York: Oxford UP, 1974) 415; Michael Gilmore, American Romanticism and the Marketplace (Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 1985) 57, 62, and 91; Richard Brodhead, The School of Hawthorne (New York: Oxford UP, 1986) 23; and Watson Branch, Hershel Parker, Harrison Hayford, and Alma A. MacDougall, “Historical Note,” The Confidence-Man, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 10 of The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, 15 vols. (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP and Newberry Library, 1968–93) 269.
5. The idea that Melville had developed a quarrel with his readers and, by the time of Pierre, sought to alienate his audience was first raised in modern Melville criticism by William Braswell, “The Satirical Temper of Melville’s Pierre,” American Literature 7 (1936): 424–38. Later advocates of this version of Melville as an adversarial writer via-à-vis audience include Charvat 204-09, 271, and 281; Douglas 296 and 304; Gilmore 17; Parker, Herman Melville 2: 163; Bryant, Melville and Repose 230–43; Stephen Railton, Authorship and Audience: Literary Performance in the American Renaissance (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991) 157–60; Elizabeth Renker, Strike Through the Mask: Herman Melville and the Scene of Writing (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996) 72; Michael Newberry, Figuring Authorship in Antebellum America (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1997) 54–57; Carol Colatrello, Literature and Moral Reform: Melville and the Discipline of Reading (Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2002) 77; Edgar A. Dryden, Monumental Melville: The Formation of a Literary Career (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2003) 33; Andrew Delbanco, Melville: His World and His Work (New York: Knopf, 2005) 142–43; and Wyn Kelley, Herman Melville: An Introduction (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008) 48. At least one Melvillian has claimed that that agonistic relationship with readers obtained from the beginning of Melville’s career as a novelist: John Evelev, “Made in the Marquesas: Typee, Tatooing, and the Critique of the Literary Marketplace,” Arizona Quarterly 48, no. 4 (1992): 19–45.
6. Melville to Alexander Bradford, May 23, 1846; Melville to Duyckinck, Dec. 14, 1849; Melville to Hawthorne, Nov. 17, 1851; all in Correspondence, ed. Lynn Horth, vol. 14 of The Writings of Herman Melville, 38, 149, and 212, respectively.
7. Lawrence Buell, “Melville and the Question of America’s Decolonization,” Melville’s Evermoving Dawn, ed. John Bryant and Robert Milder (Kent, OH: Kent State UP, 1997) 96, n. 6. Despite subscribing to the standard narrative, Bryant periodically raises a similar point in Melville and Repose (e.g., 27, 185, and 264).
8. Wai-chee Dimock, Empire for Liberty: Melville and the Politics of Individualism (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1989) 7.
9. Dimock 8 and throughout; Parker, Herman Melville 1: 59 and 348. Suggestive in this regard is a June 1851 letter to Hawthorne, in which Melville confesses, “I can well perceive, I think, how a man of superior mind can … bring himself, as it were, into a certain spontaneous aristocracy of feeling” (Correspondence 190).
10. Melville, “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839–1860, ed. Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 9 of The Writings of Herman Melville 245. Subsequent citations to “Hawthorne and His Mosses” will be to this edition and will appear parenthetically. An interesting discussion of Melville’s “doubts about the masses” is provided by Larry J. Reynolds, European Revolutions and the American Literary Renaissance (New Haven: Yale UP, 1988) 101–6.
11. In this regard William G. Rowland Jr. has made a relevant but ultimately misguided remark in stating, “During Melville’s working lifetime, two conceptions of literary work were common: the American writer could be either a professional working for the growing reading public or a romantic genius working to satisfy his own impulses. Every student of Melville knows that he felt pressed to choose one conception over the other” (Literature and the Marketplace: Romantic Writers and their Audiences in Great Britain and the United States [Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1996] 145). Such a simple dichotomy, I believe, never pressed itself upon Melville as a fiction writer, because he sought to avoid the choice by embracing both roles.
12. Renker xix, 37, and throughout; Melville to Hawthorne, Apr. 16, 1851, Correspondence 186. On Meville’s “democratic imagination” as a product of his experiences in New York City, see Delbanco 119.
13. Douglas 303.
14. Sheila Post-Lauria, Correspondent Colorings: Melville and the Marketplace (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1996). Despite the major differences between my approach and Post-Lauria’s formalistic study, her arguments have been instrumental in my thinking about Melville and his conception of audience. For a brief and partial anticipation of her argument, see Douglas Anderson, A House Undivided: Domesticity and Community in American Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990) 132. Modern critical discussion of the heterogeneity of modes, forms, and genres in Melville’s novels include, besides Post-Lauria, Richard Brodhead, Hawthorne, Melville, and the Novel (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1976), 134–62; Nina Baym, “Melville’s Quarrel with Fiction,” PMLA 94 (1979): 909–23; and Kelley.
15. Review of The Confidence-Man, Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review July 1857, rpt. in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 505. Subsequent quotations from reviews of Melville that are reprinted in this edition will be designated CR and will be cited parenthetically by the original date of the review, followed by the pages in the Higgins and Parker collection.
16. Jay Leyda, The Melville Log: A Documentary Life of Herman Melville, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (New York: Gordian, 1969) 1: 227; G. Thomas Tanselle, “The Sales of Melville’s Books,” Harvard Library Bulletin 17 (1969): 206. Figures for the British edition were also strong, with 5,000 copes printed and 4,104 sold in less than two years (Melville Log 265). Some critical disagreement exists about the “best-seller” status of Typee. Parker, for instance, argues that the novel “had not been a best seller by the standards of the time” (Herman Melville 1: 452–53), but Post-Lauria asserts that its sale of 6,000 copies in the United States would qualify it as such since “nineteenth-century publishers continually pointed out [that] a best-seller during the 1840s referred to a work that sold between three and ten thousand copies” (42).
17. Sylvester Stevens, American Expansion in Hawaii, 1842–1898 (Harrisburg, PA: Archives, 1945), 4–5; Thomas R. Hietala, Manifest Design: Anxious Aggrandizement in Late Jacksonian America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985) 59–62. Several previous Melville scholars have also discussed the topical appeal of Typee: Hugh H. Hetherington, Melville’s Reviewers: British and American, 1846–1891 (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1961) 64; and Charles Roberts Anderson, Melville and the South Seas (1939; New York: Dover, 1966) 77 ff.
18. The reviews in the United State Magazine and the Anglo American are reprinted in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 8 and 20, respectively.
19. Literary World Aug. 4 and 11, 1849, rpt. in Watson Branch, ed., Melville: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974) 165.
20. Howard, Herman Melville 92. On the vogue and audience for travel literature, esp. about the South Pacific, see also Post 109–10; and Parker, Herman Melville 1: 208 and 267. For periodical attention to this genre and its connections to American expansionist ideology, see William E. Lenz, “Narratives of Exploration, Sea Fiction, Mariners’ Chronicles, and the Rise of American Nationalism,” American Studies 32, no. 2 (1991): 41–61.
21. The reviews for the Tribune June 26, 1847; Mirror Apr. 4, 1846; Morning Herald Apr. 3, 1846; and National Intelligencer Dec. 16, 1851, are reprinted in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, 130, 42, 38, 399, respectively. For the Richmond Enquirer July 7, 1849, see Sonja Krusic and Kevin J. Hayes, “Melville Reviewers South and West,” Melville Society Extracts 86 (1991): 6.
22. Hetherington, in his useful overview of seventeen British reviews of Typee, offers the conclusion about the generally positive response (31–32). My own examination of twenty-three British reviews reprinted in Higgins and Parker’s Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews has convinced me of the accuracy of Hetherington’s claims. Hetherington also (3–4) concisely explains the conditions and nature of the effects of British reviews on the American reception of Melville’s novels. For a brief discussion of that impact on American reviews of Typee in particular, see Parker, Herman Melville 1: 410. Both Hetherington (21, 31, and throughout) and Parker (410–15) point out important parallels between the British and American reviews of Typee and offer useful overviews of the prominent issues addressed by each.
23. For this strain in the British responses, see Hetherington 21–25.
24. Duyckinck qtd. in Leyda, Melville Log 211 and 264.
25. Specifically, these were the Evangelist and the Christian Parlor Magazine in New York and the Universalist Review and the Christian Observatory in Boston, though the review in the New Haven New Englander also responded to Typee in kind. For a discussion of this response as limited to a few religious periodicals, see Hetherington 47–48; and Parker, Herman Melville 1: 431–33.
26. Elizabeth Elkins Sanders, Remarks on the “Tour Around Hawaii,” by the Missionaries, Messrs. Ellis, Thurston, Bishop, and Goodrich (Salem, 1848), 34, 41. The pages on Typee from the United States Catholic Magazine are reprinted in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 172–76. The denominational variation in magazine responses to Typee is discussed in Mentor L. Williams, “Notices of Melville’s Novels in Religious Publications,” American Literature 22 (1950): 119–27. For antebellum opposition to missionary activities, see Bertram Wyatt-Brown, “The Antimission Movement in the Jacksonian South,” Journal of Southern History 36 (1970): 501–29.
27. Sophia Hawthorne qtd. in Metcalf 91.
28. For a useful discussion of the relation between Typee and earlier accounts, see Charles Anderson 90 ff. and 117–78.
29. John Coward, The Newspaper Indian: Native American Identity in the Press, 1820–1890 (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1999) 69 and throughout. See also Richard Slotkin, “Frontier Myth as a Theory of Development,” The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Individualism, 1800–1890 (New York: Athenaeum, 1985) 33–47. On the cult of the vanishing or doomed aborigine, see Brian W. Dippie, The Vanishing American: White Attitudes and U.S. Indian Policy (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1982).
30. Bryant, Melville and Repose 168, discusses and provides the omitted passage. Melville refers to the Lory-Lory account in his letter to Murray, Jan. 29, 1847, Correspondence 78. Whether Melville eliminated this passage on his own or at Murray’s insistence is unclear. The comment about “intellectual advancement” is quoted in Leon Howard, “Historical Note,” Typee, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 1 of The Writings of Herman Melville 280. For a detailed, albeit somewhat speculative, account of Melville’s composition of Typee, see John Bryant, Melville Unfolding: Sexuality, Politics, and the Versions of Typee (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2008), 21–26, 31–43, and 58–248.
31. Melville to John Murray, July 15, 1846, Correspondence 56.
32. Geoffrey Sanborn, The Sign of the Cannibal: Melville and the Making of a Post-Colonial Reader (Durham: Duke UP, 1998), 75–76.
33. For this growth in Melville through his reading, see, Charvat 232; Howard, Herman Melville 115–16; and Parker, Herman Melville 1: 573–74.
34. The review in the American Whig Review, which appeared in July 1847, is also reprinted in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 131–42. For discussions of both these reviews and the responses they generated in defense of Melville in the periodical press, see Hetherington 85–90; Miller 21–28; and Parker, Herman Melville 1: 529–40.
35. On this principle within antebellum reviewing, see Nina Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers: Responses to Fiction in Antebellum America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1984) 250–51.
36. Melville to John Murray, Mar. 25, 1848; Melville to Murray, Jan. 29, 1849, Correspondence 106 and 114–15, respectively. For a full discussion of the antebellum reception of Omoo and its impact on Melville’s reconception of his craft with Mardi, see James L. Machor, “Reading the ‘Rinsings of the Cup’: The Antebellum Reception of Melville’s Omoo,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 59 (2004): 53–77.
37. These are the most common critical views of Mardi in Melville scholarship, exemplified in Parker, Herman Melville 1: 609, from which the “declaration” remark comes, and Railton 156, which offers the other quoted characterization. See also Charvat 217 and Dimock 43. A notable voice of dissent that somewhat anticipates my claim is Post-Lauria, who asserts, “By demonstrating how popular materials can be used for aesthetic purposes” in Mardi, Melville curried the “allegiance of literary readers who sought writers able to transform the democratic materials of popular culture into art” (66–67).
38. Melville, Mardi, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 3 of The Writings of Herman Melville xvii.
39. Melville to John Murray, Jan. 1, 1848, Correspondence 100.
40. Melville made the request for a larger advance in at least two letters to Murray, one on Oct. 29, 1847, and the second on Jan. 28, 1848 (Correspondence 98–99 and 114–115). For the argument that Mardi was a novel in which Melville was “narrowing” his readership, see John Evelev, Tolerable Entertainment: Herman Melville and Professionalism in Antebellum New York (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2006), 72–73.
41. Higgins and Parker, introduction, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews xiv.
42. Hetherington 101–12 provides an excellent discussion of these British reviews of Mardi.
43. See, e.g., Higgins and Parker, introduction, xv; Howard, Herman Melville 131; Renker 66; Railton 156; Miller 248 ff.; and Dryden 10.
44. Hetherington 131. Other sources for the sales figures of Mardi include Tanselle 210; Leyda, Melville Log 313; and Elizabeth Foster, “Historical Note,” Mardi 671.
45. On the cost of Mardi, see Foster 664; for the British printing and sales figures, see Tanselle 198.
46. Charvat 233. Other Melville scholars expressing the same view include Branch 2; and Leland Person, “Mardi and the Reviewers: The Irony of (Mis) reading,” Melville Society Extracts 72 (Feb. 1988): 3–4.
47. Putnam’s Monthly Feb. 1853, rpt. in Branch 328.
48. Qtd. in Metcalf 61.
49. Putnam’s Monthly Apr. 1857, rpt. in Branch 364.
50. Melville to Evert Duyckinck, Dec. 14, 1849; Melville to Richard Bentley, June 5, 1849, Correspondence 149 and 131, respectively; Hetherington 133.
51. Correspondence 131.
52. This view is held by most critics who have addressed the question of Melville’s conception of audience relations in 1849, e.g., Charvat 232–33 and 271; Dimock 109–10; and Parker, Herman Melville 1: 654.
53. Melville to Evert Duyckinck, Apr. 3, 1849, Correspondence 128; Melville, “Journal 1849–1850,” Journals, ed. Howard C. Horsford and Lynn Horth, vol. 15 of The Writings of Herman Melville 12.
54. Melville to Lemuel Shaw, Apr. 23, 1849, Correspondence 130; Brodhead, School of Hawthorne 28.
55. Melville to Evert Duyckinck, Dec. 14, 1849; Melville to Lemuel Shaw, Oct. 6, 1849, Correspondence 149 and 139, respectively.
56. Melville to Hawthorne, circa Nov. 17, 1851, Correspondence 212.
57. Springfield Republican Nov. 19, 1849, qtd. in Hetherington 145.
58. Qtd. in Parker, Herman Melville 1: 670.
59. Tanselle 210–14.
60. On flogging as an issue in the legislature and the popular press in 1848–49 and before, see Howard, Herman Melville 243; Charles Anderson 430; and Myra C. Glenn, “The Navy Reform Campaign Against Flogging: A Case Study in Changing Attitudes Toward Corporal Punishment,” American Quarterly 35 (1983): 408–25. Further stoking public interest were the links reformers made between corporal punishment in the navy and the slavery issue by arguing that flogging turned white sailors into the equivalent of black slaves (Richard Brod-head, Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America [Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993] 15; Glenn, 419–22; and Samuel Otter, Melville’s Anatomies [Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1999] 67–77).
61. For further discussion of support in the popular press for the reformist position in White-Jacket, see Hetherington 174–80.
62. These phrases appear respectively in the Boston Zion’s Herald Apr. 14, 1850: 58; Boston Christian Register Apr. 6, 1850; New York Knickerbocker May 1850; and New Bedford Mercury Apr. 4, 1850. The last three are reprinted in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 330, 344, and 328, respectively.
63. Hennig Cohen, introduction, White-Jacket, by Herman Melville (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1967) xxvi. For White-Jacket as a tail-end participant in what was virtually a fait accompli of naval reform, see Hetherington 183–84 and Charles Anderson 431.
64. Willard Thorp, “Historical Note,” White-Jacket, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 5 of The Writings of Herman Melville 408.
65. Melville to Evert Duyckinck, Feb. 12, 1851, Correspondence 181.
66. Dimock 109–10. Besides Dimock’s extended discussion of Melville’s connection to an imperial conception of authorship throughout his career, Ellen Weinauer explores its relevance to Melville in 1851 and calls it a “profound shift” in Melville’s conception of authorship (“Plagiarism and the Proprietary Self: Policing Boundaries of Authorship in Herman Melville’s ‘Hawthorne and His Mosses,’ ” American Literature 69 : 711).
67. Correspondence 191, Charvat 240.
68. Correspondence 160.
69. Weinauer, “Plagiarism and the Proprietary Self” 708.
70. For a somewhat related but different account of “Hawthorne and His Mosses” as a repository of Melville’s ambivalence about audience, see Railton, who calls the essay Melville’s “fullest statement” of himself as a writer “performing for an audience that has come to seem his bitterest foe, even while it remains the only possible friend to his hopes for a literary career” (188).
71. Melville to Hawthorne, June 1, 1851, and Nov. 17, 1851; Melville to Sarah Morewood, Sept. 1851, Correspondence 193, 212, and 206, respectively.
72. Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nov. 17, 1851; Melville to Sophia Hawthorne, Jan. 8, 1852, Correspondence 213 and 219. Regarding reviewer assumptions about the gendered propriety or impropriety of some novels, see Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers 183–85. It is relevant to note that among Melville scholars, Pierre “is commonly viewed as Melville’s failed attempt to attract female readers of the sentimental mode” (Post-Lauria 127).
73. Melville to Richard Bentley, Apr. 16, 1852, Correspondence 226. On Melville’s goal of making Pierre a popular novel, see also Charlene Avallone, “Calculations for Popularity: Pierre and Holden’s Dollar Magazine,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 43 (1988–89): 82–110. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker speculate about another factor in Melville’s conceptualization of Pierre, which seems at least indirectly relevant to his thinking about audience: Hawthorne’s popular and critical success with the House of the Seven Gables. That success may have induced Melville to believe that he could achieve the same results by creating his own “Gothic-flavored romance” with a domestic American setting (Reading Melville’s Pierre; or, the Ambiguities [Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2006] 4–5).
74. On the early British reviews and their negative impact, see Parker, Herman Melville 2: 19–21; and Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, “Historical Note,” Moby-Dick, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 6 of The Writings of Herman Melville 701. It is worth mentioning that scholars disagree substantially over whether the British reviews of The Whale were largely negative or positive. Those who hold to the former include Hetherington 201–3, Charvat 242, and Matthiessen 251. Support for the latter comes from Higgins and Parker, introduction xviii; and Parker, Herman Melville 2: 106.
75. The dominant critical view that the American reception of Moby-Dick was captious is represented in Matthiessen 251; Howard Vincent, The Trying-Out of Moby-Dick (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949) 3; Steven Mailloux, Interpretive Conventions: The Reader in the Study of American Fiction (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1982) 171; and Parker, Herman Melville 2: 17–30. One of the few exceptions is Hetherington 215–19.
76. Boston Daily Bee, Nov. 19, 1851, rpt. in Hershel Parker and Harrison Hayford, Moby-Dick as Doubloon: Essays and Extracts (New York: Norton, 1970) 38–39; Literary World Nov. 15, 1851, rpt. in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 375–76. On the topicality of whaling, the whaling industry, and marauding whales, see Howard, Herman Melville 45; Charles Anderson 62; and Delbanco 40.
77. American Literary Gazette Nov. 16, 1863, rpt. in Branch 382.
78. Daily Gazette Nov. 19, 1851, rpt. in Parker and Hayford 39.
79. Charvat 139. The variety of reviewers’ reactions to Ahab also belie Robert Milder’s claim that the narrative of Moby-Dick structures reader response so that at first “the reader, like Ishmael, has identified with Ahab’s hunt” but that the structure later turns Ahab into a character “who absorbs the reader’s cosmic anger and who is repudiated, expelled from the moral community of the audience” (“Moby-Dick: The Rationale of Narrative Form,” Approaches to Teaching Moby-Dick, ed. Martin Bickman [New York: MLA, 1985] 45). Antebellum responses to Ahab cannot be reduced to such a lockstep, uniform pattern.
80. Leyda, Melville Log 438 and 446; Hetherington 221.
81. United States Magazine Jan. 1852 and To-Day Jan. 10, 1852, rpt. in Higgins and Parker, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews 410–11 and 412–13, respectively. It is important to distinguish this factor from Charvat’s claim that Moby-Dick did not sell well because the reviews were horrible (241–42). As I have demonstrated, such a characterization of the reviews simply is not accurate. There is also no evidence to support Charvat’s other conjectured factor: that Moby-Dick suffered from a lack of “word-of-mouth recommendations” by women readers, who did not buy or read the novel because there were no women in it (242).
82. Hawthorne to Evert Duyckinck, Dec. 1, 1851, Correspondence, ed. Thomas Woodson, L. Neal Smith, and Norman Holmes Pearson, vol. 15 of Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. William Charvat, Roy Harvey Pearce, and Claude M. Simpson, 23 vols. (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1962–85) 508.
83. Bentley to Melville, May 5, 1852, Correspondence 620.
84. Melville to Evert Duyckinck, Feb. 14, 1852, Correspondence 222–23. Melville repeated the request in a letter of Apr. 16, using the impersonal salutation “Editors of the Literary World” (Correspondence 225). Despite the rift, Melville wrote to Evert on at least seven occasions afterward and clearly continued to value Duyckinck’s literary judgment and advice.
85. Douglas 302. For a similar characterization, see Kenneth Dauber, The Idea of Authorship in America (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1990) 209. The view of Pierre as a product of Melville’s disappointment and anger over the reception of Moby-Dick is held by, among others, Howard, Herman Melville 190–92; Charvat 253–56; Hershel Parker, “Why Pierre Went Wrong,” Studies in the Novel 8 (1978): 7–23; Railton 158 and 185; and Higgins and Parker, Reading Melville’s Pierre.
86. Leon Howard and Hershel Parker, “Historical Note,” Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle, vol. 7 of The Writings of Herman Melville 372–77.
87. North American Review Apr. 1856: 368. On this protocol in informed reading, see chapter 2 of this study.
88. Putnam’s Monthly Feb. 1853, rpt. in Branch 328.
89. Interestingly enough, several critics from the first generation of modern Melville scholars agreed with this view of Pierre, holding that the novel is a satire of antebellum sentimental fiction: William Braswell, “The Sentimental Temper of Melville’s Pierre,” American Literature 7 (1936): 424–38; and Edward R. Rosenberg, Melville and the Comic Spirit (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1955) 159. Occasionally more recent Melville critics have acceded: e.g., Robert Milder, “Melville’s Intentions in Pierre,” Studies in the Novel 6 (1974): 193; Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker, “The Flawed Grandeur of Melville’s Pierre,” New Perspectives on Melville, ed. Faith Pullin (Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1978), 167; Michael Davitt Bell, “Women’s Fiction and the Literary Marketplace in the 1850s,” The Cambridge History of American Literature, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995) 122; and Otter 174.
90. Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine Oct. 1852, rpt. in Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker, eds., Critical Essays on Herman Melville’s Pierre; or, the Ambiguities (Boston: Hall, 1983) 54.
91. Putnam’s Monthly Feb. 1853, rpt. in Branch 329.
92. Leyda, Melville Log 468; Howard and Parker, “Historical Note,” Pierre 379; Higgins and Parker, Reading Melville’s Pierre 184. On the deleterious impact of the reviews of Pierre on the sales of Moby-Dick, see Hayford, Parker, and Tanselle, “Historical Note,” Moby-Dick 728. Compounding the problem with Pierre were its debilitating economic consequences. Not only were sales low, but unlike his previous contracts with Harpers, which allotted Melville half the profits after manufacturing costs, his contract for Pierre specified a 20 percent royalty only after 1,190 copies were sold (Susan S. Williams, “Authors and Literary Authorship,” The Industrial Book, 1840–1880, vol. 3 of The History of the Book in America, ed. Scott E. Casper, Jeffrey D. Groves, Stephen W. Nissenbaum, and Michael Winship [Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2007] 92).
93. National Magazine Nov. 1852, rpt. in Higgins and Parker, Critical Essays 68.
94. Qtd. in Parker, Herman Melville 2: 142. Regarding Melville’s conception of a successful writing career as one marked by a “consistent movement upward,” see Evelev, Tolerable Entertainment 17.
95. Merton M. Sealts Jr., “Historical Note,” Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces 484 and 493; Parker, Herman Melville 2: 163. Eleven of the fourteen stories Melville published in Harpers and Putnam’s appeared either anonymously or under a pseudonym: “Bartleby,” “Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!,” “The Encantadas,” “Poor Man’s Pudding and Rich Man’s Crumbs,” “The Happy Failure,” “The Lightening-Rod Man,” “The Fiddler,” “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids,” “The Bell-Tower,” “Benito Cereno,” and “Jimmy Rose” (Sealts 458).
96. Tanselle 196; Dix, Edwards, & Co. to Melville, Aug. 28, 1856, Correspondence 649; Curtis qtd. in Leyda, Melville Log 510. For an analysis of the antebellum response to Melville’s short stories, see James L. Machor, “The American Reception of Melville’s Short Fiction in the 1850s,” New Directions in American Reception Study, ed. Philip Goldstein and James L. Machor (New York: Oxford UP, 2008) 87–98.
97. Putnam’s Monthly Apr. 1857, rpt. in Branch 365.
98. Johannes Dietrich Bergman, “The Original Confidence Man,” American Quarterly 21 (1969): 560–77. On Melville’s knowledge about and motivations in centering his last novel on this well-known figure, see Post-Lauria 215–19; and Robertson-Lorant 361.
99. Duyckinck letter of Mar. 31, 1857, rpt. in Leyda, Melville Log 563.
100. Melville to Lemuel Shaw, Oct. 6, 1849, Correspondence 139. This modern view of The Confidence-Man is so widespread that a full citation would need to include almost every article and book chapter that has treated the novel. In lieu of that, see Matthiessen 411–12; Railton 189–94; Dimock 207–12; Nina Baym, “Melville’s Quarrel with Fiction,” PMLA 94 (1979): 909–23; and Dauber 221–22. One of the few exceptions to this position is Leon Howard, who asserted over fifty years ago, “there is no evidence of any sort that Melville anticipated the failure of his new book” (Herman Melville 232).
101. The modern critical view of the antebellum reception of The Confidence-Man as marked by “hostility and bafflement” is exemplified in Renker 71; and Higgins and Parker, introduction xxi. Compare Kelley, who asserts that antebellum “readers saw it as an improvement over Pierre” (129). While that response is closer to the novel’s actual reception, there is little evidence to support Kelley’s claim that those same readers likened the novel to Mardi and Moby-Dick (129).
102. Putnam’s Monthly Apr. 1857, rpt. in Branch 366.
103. Bryant, Melville and Repose 236.
104. Tanselle 198.
105. Walker Cowen, Melville’s Marginalia, 2 vols. (New York: Garland, 1987) 2: 27; Shaw letter, June 2, 1857, qtd. in Metcalf 165–66.
106. On Melville’s conception of poetry as a private form of writing and the role of that view in his decision to turn to that genre, see Post-Lauria 229; Robertson-Lorant 503; Dryden 148–66; and Kelley 138.
107. Regarding Melville’s conception of the audience for his poetry as a select group or “coterie,” see Matthew Giordono, “Public Privacy: Melville’s Coterie Authorship in John Marr and Other Sailors,” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 9, no. 3 (2007): 65–78. For a related discussion of Melville’s relation to his poetic audience, see William Spengemann, “Melville the Poet,” American Literary History 11 (1999): 583.
108. For publication figures for Clarel, John Marr, and Timoleon, see Parker, Herman Melville 2: 839 and 879.
109. “Bok’s Literary Leaves,” Publisher’s Weekly Nov. 15, 1890, rpt. in Branch 417–18.
110. On Melville’s British admirers in the 1880s, see Hetherington 270–83; Robertson-Lorant 574; Melville Correspondence 744; and Hayford, Parker, and Tanselle, “Historical Note,” Moby-Dick 338–39.
111. New York Times Aug. 5, 1899, qtd. in Parker, Herman Melville 2: 923.
112. North American Review Feb. 1892; Springfield Republican Oct. 4, 1891; New York Times Oct. 2, 1891; and Mail and Express Oct. 8, 1891, rpt. in Branch 429, 421, 418, and 424, respectively. For the botched headline in the Oct. 6, 1891, New York Times, see Leyda, Melville Log 788. The gaff in the Times may, however, have been a typesetter’s error rather than a mistake by the writer (see Parker, Herman Melville 2: 921).
113. For a useful discussion of the Melville revival from the 1920s to the 1950s, see Sanford E. Merovitz, “The Melville Revival,” Companion to Melville Studies, ed. Wyn Kelley (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006) 515–31. Paul Lauter discusses Melville’s revival in relation to Modernism in “Melville Climbs the Canon,” American Literature 66 (1994): 1–24.
CHAPTER FIVE: Response as (Re)Construction
1. Hope Leslie appeared as a Rutgers UP edition in 1987; A New England Tale was published in 1995 by Oxford UP; and the UP of New England published The Linwoods in 2002. A fourth novel, Redwood, was also briefly available as a Garret Press reissue in 1969.
2. MLA International Bibliography of Books and Articles on the Modern Languages and Literature (New York: MLA, 1921–).
3. On the positive side, Sedgwick, with 98 articles devoted to her, is ahead of other marginally canonical antebellum women novelists such as Susan Warner (54), Sara Payson Willis / Fanny Fern (49), E.D.E.N. Southworth (25), and Maria Cummins (17) (MLA International Bibliography). For an earlier statistical comparison of articles on Sedgwick and on other nineteenth-century American writers, see Dana Nelson, “Rediscovery,” Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives, ed. Lucinda L. Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements (Boston: Northeastern UP, 2003) 286–93.
4. The one post-1980 work is the Damon-Bach and Clements collection cited in the previous note. The two other studies were Mary Welsh, Catharine Maria Sedgwick (Washington, DC: Catholic U of America P, 1937); and Edward Halsey Foster, Catharine Maria Sedgwick (New York: Twayne, 1974).
5. On those links made by antebellum commentators, see Rebecca R. Saulsbury, “Catharine Maria Sedgwick,” Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, ed. Denise D. Knight (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997), 353, 356; and Foster 20. Foster also claims that “until Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Miss Sedgwick was the only woman who was widely considered a major American writer” (21).
6. Lucinda L. Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements, introduction, Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick xxiii. Melissa J. Homestead has argued that antebellum praise of Sedgwick as a national American author transpired within, and as part of, a particular economic and legal context: the debate over international copyright (American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822–1869 [Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005] 77–78 ff.).
7. Nina Baym, “Melodramas of Beset Manhood: How Theories of American Fiction Exclude Women Authors,” American Quarterly 33 (1981): 123–39; Jane Tompkins, “Masterpiece Theater,” Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790–1860 (New York: Oxford UP, 1985) 3–39.
8. Eugene Exman, The Brothers Harper: A Unique Publishing Partnership and Its Impact upon the Cultural Life of America from 1817 to 1853 (New York: Harper and Row, 1965) 30. For Sedgwick’s involvement in New York City literary society, including the Knickerbocker group and the salon culture that included Edgar Poe and Margaret Fuller, see Charlene Avallone, “Catharine Sedgwick and the Circles of New York,” Legacy 23 (2006): esp. 116–17, 120–21, and 124–25. On Sedgwick’s prominence in the Lenox-Stockbridge region and her literary relations in New York, see Foster 19–39.
9. Mary Kelley, Private Woman, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford UP, 1984) xi, 111, 129–30. For a related discussion of the cult of true womanhood and its restrictive implications for women writers in antebellum American, see Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1990) 11. Kelley’s argument, as it relates specifically to Sedgwick, has been echoed by T. Gregory Garvey, “Risking Reprisal: Catharine Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie and the Legitimation of Public Action by Women,” American Transcendental Quarterly 8 (1994): 287–98; Victoria Clements, introduction, A New England Tale, by Catharine Maria Sedgwick, ed. Victoria Clements (New York: Oxford UP, 1995) xxi–xxii; and Elaine Showalter, A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx (New York: Knopf, 2009) 41.
10. Melissa J. Homestead, “Behind the Veil? Catharine Sedgwick and Anonymous Publication,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 23–27. Homestead claims that Sedgwick’s use of anonymous authorship actually was a “market strategy for constructing an authorial persona” (20) as a “reluctant” women author, through which, as Homestead explains elsewhere, Sedgwick “positioned herself in the literary field as a producer responding to readers’ needs” and expectations (American Women Authors 70).
11. Catharine Sedgwick to Charles Sedgwick, July 22, 1836, Life and Letters of Catharine M. Sedgwick, ed. Mary Dewey (New York: Harper, 1871) 254. Sedgwick’s knowledge about and dealings with the literary marketplace are also discussed in Sarah Robbins, “Periodizing Authorship, Characterizing Genre: Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Benevolent Literary Narratives,” American Literature 76 (2004): 5–6; C. Deirdre Phelps, “American Authorship and New York Publishing History, 1827–1842: The Market Experience of Catharine Maria Sedgwick and William Cullen Bryant,” diss., Boston U, 1993, 83–89, 121–22, and throughout; and Homestead, American Women Authors 63–104.
12. Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture (New York: Knopf, 1977), 9; Lawrence Buell, New England Literary Culture: From Revolution to Renaissance (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986) 375–92.
13. Coultrap-McQuin 8. On the authority of the cult of domesticity and its ideology of privatized womanhood in justifying female authorship in nineteenth-century America, see also Linda M. Grasso, The Artistry of Anger: Black and White Women’s Literature in America, 1820–1860 (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2002) 24; and Michael Newbury, Figuring Authorship in Antebellum America (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1997) 68. That justification of a connection between public and private cultural spaces, it should be added, was one of a series of linkages in gender formations within antebellum ideology and culture that historians have recently pointed to in revising earlier scholarly ideas about the supposedly fixed and unbreachable division of gender-coded separate spheres in nineteenth-century America. For an excellent overview of this revisionist historiography on the notion of separate spheres, see Dana D. Nelson, “Women in Public,” The Cambridge Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing, ed. Dale M. Bauer and Philip Gould (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001) 38–68.
14. Nina Baym, Novels, Readers, and Reviewers (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1984) 23.
15. Catharine Sedgwick to Henry (Harry) Sedgwick, June 1, 1825, qtd. in Kelley 202–3; Catharine Sedgwick to Charles Sedgwick, Mar. 7, 1830, Dewey 205.
16. Kelley 219; Nina Baym, Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in American, 1820–1870 (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1978) 16.
17. Sedgwick to Susan Channing, June 15, 1822, Dewey 156; Sedgwick to “Dear Sir,” Nov. 6, 1827, qtd. in Kelley 203.
18. Catharine Sedgwick to Henry Sedgwick, Oct. 18, 1824, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers III, Massachusetts Historical Society.
19. Sedgwick to William Channing, Aug. 24, 1837, Dewey 271; Sedgwick to St. Leger, July 4, 1841, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society; Sedgwick to Susan Channing, Apr. 6, 1857, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
20. Michael Gilmore, American Romanticism and the Marketplace (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985).
21. Sedgwick to Lydia Child, June 13, 1830, qtd. in Kelley 204; Sedgwick, Journal 1834–1835, Oct. 1, 1834, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
22. Saulsbury 352–54.
23. Sedgwick, Journal, Dec. 17, 1835, Dewey 249–50.
24. Sedgwick, Journals 1827–1830, June 7, 1830, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
25. Foster 15, 45; Sedgwick to Mrs. Frank Channing, “Sunday evening, 1822,” Dewey 153–54.
26. Saulsbury 352. Widely divergent—and largely unsubstantiated—claims have been made by modern scholars regarding the sale of Sedgwick’s first novel. Saulsbury, for instance, asserts that it “was a best seller in Britain and America” (352). By contrast, Helen Papashvily writes that the novel “did not rank among the best sellers of the decade” (All the Happy Endings: A Study of the Domestic Novel in America, the Women Who Wrote It, the Women Who Read It, in the Nineteenth-Century [New York: Harper, 1956] 41).
27. Henry (Harry) Sedgwick to Catharine Sedgwick, May 25, 1822, Dewey 152.
28. See, esp., “Essays on American Language and Literature,” North American Review Sept. 1815: 307–14; “Reflection on the Literary Delinquency of America,” North American Review Nov. 1815: 33–43; and William Tudor, “An Address Delivered to the Phi Beta Kappa Society,” North American Review Nov. 1815: 13–32.
29. Smith qtd. in Richard Gravil, Romantic Dialogues: Anglo-American Continuities, 1776–1862 (New York: St. Martin’s, 2000) 51.
30. Sedgwick, A New England Tale 24.
31. Christian Disciple (1823) qtd. in David Reynolds, Faith in Fiction: The Emergence of Religious Literature in America (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1981) 115.
32. James to Sedgwick, May 17, 1822, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers III, Massachusetts Historical Society.
33. Monthly Review (1823) qtd. in Patricia Larson Kalayjian, “Her ‘Classic Pen’: Critical Politics and the Reputation of Catharine Maria Sedgwick,” diss. Duke U, 1991, 25.
34. Wilde to Sedgwick, Oct. 25, 1852, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society; Cabot to Sedgwick, Nov. 16, 1822, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers III, Massachusetts Historical Society.
35. Douglas, esp. 6–8, 13, 17–19.
36. G. M. Goshgarian, To Kiss the Chastening Rod: Domestic Fiction and Sexual Ideology in the American Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1992) 38; Reynolds 73.
37. On the assumption in informed reading linking emotional response and women readers, see chapter 2.
38. Kate Flint, The Woman Reader, 1837–1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 66, n. 4; Susan Williams, Reclaiming Authorship: Literary Women in America, 1850–1900 (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2006) 30–31.
39. Sedgwick to Susan Channing, Aug. 17, 1822, Dewey 157; Sedgwick to Cabot, Oct. 22, 1822, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
40. Sedgwick to Cabot, June 2, 1824, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
41. Lazarus to Sedgwick, July 16, 1826, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.
42. Lucinda Damon-Bach, “To ‘Act’ and ‘Transact’: Redwood’s Revisionary Heroines,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 57.
43. For this view of Redwood’s characters among modern readers, see Baym, Women’s Fiction 58.
44. William Minot to Catharine Sedgwick, July 16, 1824, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers III, Massachusetts Historical Society.
45. Henry Sedgwick to Catharine Sedgwick, Aug. 24, 1824, Dewey 168.
46. Michael Bell, “History and Romance Conventions in Catharine Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie,” American Literature 22 (1970): 214.
47. Judith Fetterley, “ ‘My Sister, My Sister!’: The Rhetoric of Catharine Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie,” American Literature 70 (1998): 495–97; Lucy Maddox, Removals: Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Politics of Indian Affairs (New York: Oxford UP, 1991) 103; Barbara Bardes and Susan Gossett, Declarations of Independence: Women and Political Power in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1990) 13; Carol J. Singley, “Catharine Maria Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie: Radical Frontier Romance,” Desert, Garden, Margin, Range: Literature on the American Frontier, ed. Eric Heyne (New York: Twayne; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan, 1992) 110–13; Showalter 38; Douglas 184–85. Other examples of this view of Hope Leslie include Christopher Castiglia, “In Praise of Extra-Vagant Women: Hope Leslie and the Captivity Romance,” Legacy 6, no. 2 (1989): 3–16; Philip Gould, Covenant and Republic: Historical Romance and the Politics of Puritanism (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996) 132; and Mark G. Vasquez, “ ‘Your Sister Cannot Speak to You and Understand You as I Do’: Native American Culture and Female Subjectivity in Lydia Marie Child and Catharine Maria Sedgwick,” American Transcendental Quarterly 15 (2001): 173–90.
48. Mary Kelley, “Legacy Profile: Catharine Maria Sedgwick,” Legacy 6.2 (1989): 47; Dana Nelson, “Sympathy as Strategy in Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie,” The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in Nineteenth-Century America, ed. Shirley Samuels (New York: Oxford UP, 1992) 192. Others have argued that the novel combines a two-pronged attack on patriarchy and white racism: Sandra A. Zagarell, “Expanding ‘America’: Lydia Sigourney’s Sketch of Connecticut, Catharine Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 6 (1987): 225–45; Gustav Stadler, “Magawisca’s Body of Knowledge: Nation-Building in Hope Leslie,” Yale Journal of Criticism 12 (1999): 41–56; and Castiglia.
49. For a brief comment on the appeal of Hope Leslie to the patriotic and nationalistic ideology of the antebellum audience, see also Bardes and Gossett 25.
50. Aikens to Sedgwick, Sept. 15, 1827, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.
51. Buell 194, 230; Reynolds 106. Baym makes a relevant point on this issue by arguing that Sedgwick “perform[s] no culturally subversive acts when deplor[ing] Puritan shortcomings” because she was operating within a Unitarian notion of cultural progress, in which “the Puritans need not—should not—be presented as history’s culmination” but only as an important but flawed step in the “long road traveled from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century” (American Women Writers and the Work of History, 1790–1840 [New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1995] 157).
52. Sedgwick to M. Sismondi, Mar. 15, 1828, Dewey 192–93.
53. Maddox 97. The claim about antebellum readers’ applause is from Singley 111.
54. Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; or, Early Times in Massachusetts, ed. Mary Kelley (New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1987) 1.
55. Sedgwick, Hope Leslie 73. One modern critic, it should be noted, has, in fact, interpreted the novel as an elegiac expression of the antebellum racist conception of the “vanishing” Indian (Nelson 202).
56. Robert Tilton, Pocahontas: The Evolution of an American Narrative (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994) 81.
57. On the brisk early sales of Hope Leslie, see Kelley, Private Woman 12.
58. Sedgwick to Susan Channing, Mar. 14, 1830, Dewey 207.
59. Catharine Sedgwick to Charles Sedgwick, Mar. 7, 1830, Dewey 205.
60. Saulsbury 357.
61. Follen to Sedgwick, Dec. 25, 1837, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.
62. Osborne to Sedgwick, July 29, 1830, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers III, Massachusetts Historical Society.
63. Reynolds 118; Foster 117.
64. For these characterizations of Home, as well as Live and Let Live and Poor Rich Man, see Saulsbury 353, 357; Kelley, “Legacy Profile” 43; Nancy Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780–1835 (New Haven: Yale UP, 1977) 63; Sondra Smith Gates, “Sedgwick’s American Poor,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 177; Susan Harris, “The Limits of Authority: Catharine Maria Sedgwick and the Politics of Resistance,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 284, n. 7; Charlene Avallone, “Catharine Sedgwick and the ‘Art’ of Conversation,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 199; and Homestead, American Women Authors 90–97.
65. Boston Observer Apr. 30, 1836, rpt. in part in Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 171.
66. Lyle H. Wright, American Fiction, 1774–1850 (San Mateo, CA: Huntington Library, 1948) 253.
67. Gates 178.
68. Sedgwick to Louisa Minot, Nov. 26, 1836, Sedgwick Family Papers, qtd. in Phelps 133.
69. In the same year, Sedgwick also published a volume of short stories, Tales and Sketches, but the eleven stories that composed it had all been previously published in periodicals and gift books (Lucinda L. Damon-Bach, “Chronological Bibliography of the Works of Catharine Maria Sedgwick,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 298, 302–5.
70. Dillingham to Sedgwick, Nov. 12, 1835, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.
71. Cf. such remarks to the interpretation of Isabelle by modern Sedgwick readers. For example, in her introduction to The Linwoods Maria Karafilis asserts that in the course of the novel not only is Isabelle transformed “from Tory to Rebel” but that “[i]n the process, Isabelle rebels against … the institutions of slavery, gender norms, and patriarchal authority” (The Linwoods or, “Sixty Years Since” in America, by Catharine Sedgwick, ed. Maria Karafilis [Hanover, NH: UP of New England, 2002] xv).
72. George Haven Putnam, George Palmer Putnam: A Memoir (New York: Putnam’s, 1912) 22. The printing and sales figures for The Linwoods were recorded by Sedgwick on an informal accounting sheet dated Nov. 25, 1841, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
73. The other review to remark on length was in the American Quarterly Review Mar. 1837: 18–28.
74. Between the publication of Hope Leslie in 1827 and the appearance of The Linwoods in 1835, Sedgwick published a total of ten pieces in these two venues with eight of those appearing in the Juvenile Miscellany (Damon-Bach, “Chronological Bibliography” 303–5). Interestingly, two years before Hope Leslie Sedgwick had published a freestanding novella, The Travellers. A Tale, that was “Designed for Young People,” as its title page announced, but that volume had no impact on reviewer responses to Hope Leslie and Clarence or on their conceptions of the audiences of those two novels.
75. For such a modern characterization of Means and Ends see, e.g., Maria Lamonica, “ ‘She Could Make a Cake as Well as Books … ‘: Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Anna Jameson, and the Construction of the Domestic Individual,” Women’s Writing 1 (1995): 236.
76. Sedgwick, Means and Ends, or Self-Training (Boston: Marsh, Capen, Lyon, and Webb, 1839), 12.
77. The sales figures for the two novels are from Sedgwick’s Nov. 25, 1841, accounting sheet, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers I, Massachusetts Historical Society.
78. Foster 117.
79. Rev. Dr. Bellows to Sedgwick, undated but probably between July 1848 and Jan. 1849, Dewey 310–11.
80. Robbins 5.
81. Henry Steele Commager, “When Majors Wrote for Minors,” Saturday Review May 10, 1952, qtd. in Beverly Lyon Clark, Kiddie Lit: The Cultural Construction of Children’s Literature in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2003) 48.
82. Undated ms. review, circa 1841, Catharine Maria Sedgwick Papers II, Massachusetts Historical Society.
83. Richard Darling, The Rise of Children’s Book Reviewing in America, 1865–1881 (New York: Bowker, 1968) 46. Sarah Wadsworth points out that by the 1840s a market for books and other reading materials specifically designed for children had been “well established” by Samuel Goodrich, the American Tract Society, and other publishers (In the Company of Books: Literature and Its “Classes” in Nineteenth-Century America [Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2006] 30).
84. Clark 69. Telling in this regard is Hawthorne’s own attitude toward the fiction he had written for the juvenile market and its young readership in that, according to Sarah Wadsworth, Hawthorne’s “correspondence suggests that he regarded these early juvenile stories as a kind of hackwork” (In the Company of Books 31).
85. Clark 113. On the gendered segmentation of children’s literature and its audience in mid-nineteenth-century America, see also Wadsworth 44–69.
86. North American Review Apr. 1828: 407.
87. Damon-Bach, “Chronological Bibliography” 295–301.
88. One index to Sedgwick’s continued prominence is that among the seventy-two writers Rufus Wilmot Griswold included in his 1847 Prose Writers of America, Sedgwick was one of only five women in that assembly (Fred Lewis Pattee, The Feminine Fifties [New York: Appleton-Century, 1940] 50).
89. Sedgwick to Katherine Minot, Apr. 2, 1857, Dewey 370; Sedgwick to Orville Dewey, Mar. 1857, Dewey 369.
90. Damon-Bach, “Chronological Bibliography,” 298–301.
91. For a modern critical view of Married or Single? as a novel that “questions the commonplace assumption that any marriage is preferable to a single life for women, and intersects with the discourse of women’s rights,” see Deborah Gussman, “Equal to Either Fortune: Sedgwick’s Married or Single? and Feminism,” Damon-Bach and Clements, eds., Catharine Maria Sedgwick 257.
92. Interestingly enough, at least two modern Sedgwick scholars have reached the same conclusion about the ending of Married or Single?: Foster 130; and Gussman 260.
93. The Harpers reissued Poor Rich Man in 1872 and 1876, Live and Let Live in 1876, Means and Ends in 1870, and Love Token for Children in 1871. The one exception to this pattern was the Harpers’ 1872 reissue of Hope Leslie (Damon-Bach, “Chronological Bibliography” 295–301).
94. Dewey 10, 446, 430.
95. Barrett Wendell, A Literary History of America (New York: Scribner’s, 1900); Richard Burton, Literary Leaders of America: A Class-book on American Literature (New York: Chautauqua, 1903); John Macy, Spirit of American Literature (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page, 1913); Percy Boynton, A History of American Literature (Boston: Ginn, 1919); Carl Van Doren, What Is American Literature? (New York: Morrow, 1935); Arthur Hobson Quinn, American Fiction: A Historical and Critical Survey (New York: Appleton-Century, 1936).
96. Vernon Parrington, The Romantic Revolution in America, vol. 2 of Main Currents in American Thought (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1927) 241; Fred Lewis Pattee, The First Century of American Literature, 1770–1870 (1935; New York: Cooper Square, 1966) 381, 387, 399, 405; Van Wyck Brooks, The Flowering of New England, 1815–1865 (New York: Modern Library, 1936) 188.
97. William J. Long, American Literature: A Study of the Men and the Books That in the Earlier and Later Times Reflect the American Spirit (Boston: Ginn, 1913) 175, 282, n. 2; Walter C. Bronson, A Short History of American Literature: Designed Primarily for Use in Schools and Colleges (Boston: Heath, 1902) 172; William B. Cairns, A History of American Literature (New York: Oxford UP, 1912) 206; William Peterfield Trent, John Erskine, Stuart P. Sherman, and Carl Van Doren, eds., The Cambridge History of American Literature, 4 vols. (New York: Putnam’s; Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1917), 1: 310, 324, 2: 396–98, 406; Ernest E. Leisy, The American Historical Novel (Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1950), 43. A late nineteenth-century predecessor to this scholarly typecasting of Sedgwick’s fiction was Charles F. Richardson, American Literature, 1607–1885 (New York: Putnam, 1885) 1: 409–10.
CHAPTER SIX: Mercurial Readings
1. The lone chapter appears in Nina Baym, Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women, 1820–1870 (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1978) 208–30. Both articles are thumbnail overviews by Lucy Freibert and are nearly identical: “Caroline Chesebro’ (Caroline Chesebrough) (1825–1873),” Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, ed. Denise D. Knight (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1997), 36–41; and “Caroline Chesebro’ (1825–1873),” Writers of the American Renaissance, ed. Denise D. Knight (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003), 51–55. Besides entries in the standard biographical dictionaries mentioned, entries for Chesebro’ appear in Lina Mainiero, ed., American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Ungar, 1979–1994) 1: 346–48; and Lucy Freibert and Barbara A. White, eds., Hidden Hands: An Anthology of American Women Writers, 1790–1870 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1985) 322–23. The Freibert and White anthology also includes thirteen pages of excerpts from Chesebro’s first novel, Isa, a Pilgrimage.
2. This lack of attention to Chesebro’ has continued in more recent book-length studies of nineteenth-century American women writers, including Linda Grasso, The Artistry of Anger: Black and White Women’s Literature in America, 1820–1860 (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2002); Melissa Homestead, American Women Writers and Literary Property (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005); Susan S. Williams, Reclaiming Authorship: Literary Women in America, 1850–1900 (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2006); and Laura Laffrado, Uncommon Women: Gender and Representation in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Women’s Writing (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2009). Two exceptions are Anne E. Boyd, Writing for Immortality: Women and the Emergence of High Literary Culture in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2004); and Joyce Warren, Women, Money, and the Law: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Gender, and the Courts (Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2005). Warren, however, includes only a two-sentence dismissal of Chesebro’s Isa, a Pilgrimage (227). Likewise, Boyd mentions Chesebro’ only briefly, treating her as a stalking horse who typified the pious, conventional feminine writers against whom true women artists, such as Elizabeth Stoddard, defined themselves (322, 325–26).
3. See Marjorie Jane Hunt, “The Short Stories of Caroline Chesebro’,” M.A. thesis, George Washington U, 1970. The scholarly neglect of Chesebro’ is reflected as well in the early covers of Legacy, the official journal of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers. Those covers list the names of individual women writers in changing orders, but among the more than two hundred names—which include Fanny Fern, Caroline Lee Hentz, E.D.E.N. Southworth, and Ann Stephens—Chesebro’s never appears.
4. Beyond a passing sentence on this topic in one of her biographical dictionary entries, Freibert devotes in her other entry two half-pages of discussion to Chesebro’s nineteenth-century reception (38–39), while Baym briefly quotes comments about Isa from a Harper’s review and from John Hart’s 1854 Female Prose Writers of America (210–11).
5. When Harper’s began compensating American authors for their contributions, several of Chesebro’s short stories—along with Melville’s—were among the first to appear. For an extensive, though slightly incomplete, bibliography of Chesebro’s magazine fiction, see Hunt 31–84.
6. Chesebro’ may have been working on—and possibly completed—a tenth novel at her death, according to the entry for her in the 1886 Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, but if so, the novel was never published (Hunt 8).
7. On this problem faced by nineteenth-century women writers and by Susan Warner in particular, see Jane Tompkins, Sensational Designs: The Culture Work of American Fiction, 1790–1860 (New York: Oxford UP, 1985) 23–34.
8. James C. Derby, Fifty Years among Authors, Books and Publishers (New York: Carleton, 1884) 585.
9. Timothy D. Murray, “G. W. Carleton,” American Literary Publishing Houses, 1638–1899, ed. Peter Dzwonkoski, vol. 49 of Dictionary of Literary Biography, 336 vols. to date (Detroit: Gale, 1986) 84–85.
10. William Dean Howells, “Recollections of an Atlantic Editorship,” Atlantic Monthly Nov. 1907: 594.
11. Although no sales figures of Chesebro’s novels appear to have survived, there is general agreement about her lack of popularity and broad sales. See Derby 586; Baym 208; and Tess Lloyd, “Caroline Chesebrough,” American National Biography, ed. John H. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford UP, 1999) 4: 783. Regarding Peter Carradine, the New York Tribune announced that the novel was “out of print” shortly after its publication but that a second edition “is now ready” (Oct. 2, 1863: 6).
12. See, e.g., her letters to R. H. S., Apr. 4, 1859, Anthony Collection, New York Public Library, and to William Conant Church, Jan. 29, 1867, The Galaxy Correspondence, William Conant Church Mss., New York Public Library. In the former, Chesebro’ bluntly asks, in regard to several stories she has submitted, “will you let me know what price you would pay for them.” Of Church she inquires when she can expect him to “remit payment” for a story that appeared in the Feb. 1867 issue of the Galaxy.
13. Chesebro’ to “Messrs. E. & G. Duyckinck,” Nov. 26, 1849, Literary Correspondence, Duyckinck Collection, New York Public Library; Chesebro’ to “Messrs. Duyckinck,” 1851, Literary Correspondence, Duyckinck Collection.
14. Chesebro’ to William Conant Church, Nov. 2, 1868, The Galaxy Correspondence.
15. Chesebro’ to the Atlantic Monthly, Dec. 4, 1860, Correspondence with the Publishers, Cairns Collection of American Women Writers, Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Of additional interest in this letter is Chesebro’s claim that she is owed $10 more for two printed pages of the story. If her calculations were correct, they indicate that the Atlantic was paying her at the same rate of $5 per page that Melville received from Harper’s and Putnam’s in the mid-1850s.
16. Chesebro’ to “Messrs. Duyckinck,” 1851. In this area, Chesebro’ provides a specific instance of Susan William’s recent claim that, contrary to the standard division literary historians have often invoked between authors (usually female) who wrote for the marketplace and authors (usually male) who wrote for artistic purposes, male and female authors in nineteenth-century America often wrote “to achieve ‘high art’ ” just as both frequently wrote for economic gain (“Authors and Literary Authorship,” The Industrial Book, 1840–1880, vol. 3 of The History of the Book in America, ed. Scott E. Casper, Jeffrey D. Groves, Stephen W. Nissenbaum, and Michael Winship [Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2007] 90).
17. Chesebro’ to William Conant Church, circa 1870, The Galaxy Correspondence.
18. S. J. Wolfe, “Caroline Chesebro’,” Nineteenth-Century American Fiction Writers, ed. Kent P. Ljungquist, vol. 202 of Dictionary of Literary Biography (Detroit: Gale, 1999), 77; Chesebro’ to William Conant Church, Nov. 2, 1868, The Galaxy Correspondence.
19. See, e.g., Wolfe 78; Juliann E. Fleenor, “Caroline Chesebrough,” Mainiero 346; Lloyd 783; Herbert Ross Brown, The Sentimental Novel in America, 1790–1860 (New York: Pageant, 1959) 281; and Sheryl L. Meyering, “Caroline Chesebrough,” Oxford Companion to American Women’s Writing in the United States, ed. Linda Wagner-Martin and Cathy N. Davidson (New York: Oxford UP, 1995) 164.
20. Dream-Land included Chesebro’s first published story, “An Exhausted Topic,” which had appeared originally in Graham’s in December 1848. Eight of the nineteen previously published stories in the collection had been published in that periodical, with the remainder having appeared in Holden’s Dollar Magazine (six), the Knickerbocker (four), and Sartain’s (one).
21. Churchman and Albany State Register qtd. in Redfield advertisement in Isa, a Pilgrimage, by Caroline Chesebro’ (New York: Redfield, 1852) 321.
22. Qtd. in Redfield advertisement, Isa 321.
23. For this characterization and claim, see, e.g., Baym 209 and Wolfe 77.
24. It should be mentioned that Chesebro’ was probably deep into writing Isa when the reviews of Dream-Land came out in January and February, since her publisher announced the novel as available for purchase only a month later in an advertisement in the Mar. 6, 1852, New York Tribune (1).
25. Qtd. in Redfield advertisement in Children of Light by Caroline Chesebro’ (New York: Redfield, 1853) 381.
26. Albany Argus and Christian Freemen qtd. in Redfield advertisement, Children of Light 381.
27. See Baym 209.
28. Qtd. in Redfield advertisement, Children of Light 381.
29. Qtd. in Redfield advertisement, Children of Light 381. This view of Isa as ultimately a conventional novel that subscribes to traditional gender values is held by at least one modern critic; see Warren 227. For a contrary modern interpretation of Isa as a narrative that supports its protagonist and critiques patriarchal culture, see Baym 214–15.
30. Richard Gerrig, Experiencing Narrative Worlds: On the Psychological Activities of Reading (New Haven: Yale UP, 1993) 27, 69. According to Pierre Macherey, responses involving preferences and invoked alternatives are an inherent part of axiological reading and of criticism as “appreciation (the education of taste)” (A Theory of Literary Production, trans. Geoffrey Wall [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978] 3, 15).
31. Although the publication year of Children was officially 1853, the New York Tribune announced the novel as published “this day” in its Nov. 24, 1852, issue (1).
32. The part of Borland’s speech about true worship, quoted by the National Era reviewer, is in Children of Light 273.
33. Freibert asserts that Children “met no criticism for its morality” (38). Curiously, Freibert also declares that Chesebro’s second novel is actually more iconoclastic than Isa because of what she sees as its homosexual character relations and “the lesbian overtones of the ending” (37–38).
34. The publication date listed in Little Crossbearers is 1854, but the New York Tribune announced it in early December 1853 as available for a price of fifty cents (Dec. 6, 1853: 1).
35. John Tebbel, The Creation of an Industry, 1630–1865, vol. 4 of A History of Book Publishing in the United States, 4 vols. (New York: Bowker, 1972) 342–43, 484.
36. The New York Tribune, one of the major outlets for publishers’ advertising, regularly listed “books received,” often as a prelude to upcoming reviews. In the two years following its publication, Crossbearers never appeared in the paper’s list of receipts from Derby, Miller, Orton, and Mulligan. Instead, the Tribune announced, for instance, receipt of those firms’ Life of Mary Queen of Scots and The Three Colonies of Australia (Mar. 2, 1854: 6–7) and their temperance tales entitled Dick Wilson, the Rum-seller’s Victim and Minnie Brown: The Landlord’s Daughter (Jan. 6, 1855: 1).
37. Tebbel 342–43. Derby sold Miller his half of their partnership at about the time that Crossbearers came out (Dzwonkoski, ed., American Literary Publishing Houses 116).
38. Miller, Orton, and Mulligan regularly advertised Fern’s Fern Leaves and Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom in the American Publishers’ Circular and Literary Gazette (see, e.g., Oct. 6, 1854: 94, and Oct. 13, 1855: 107) and the New York Tribune (e.g., Jan. 3, 1855: 1, and July 21, 1855: 1). The firm also must have distributed review copies of their nonfiction titles, since in 1855 Miller, Orton, and Mulligan ads in the Tribune started including excerpts from reviews of My Bondage and My Freedom as well as Memoirs of the Court and Reign of Catherine the Second, Empress of Russia and the biography Henrietta Robinson (Dec. 22: 1855: 1). Compounding the problem for Chesebro’ was that the firm went out of business because of mismanagement two years after Beautiful Gate came out (Dzwonkoski 117). It should be noted, however, that Chesebro’s third collection did make it into one Miller, Orton, and Mulligan ad in the Tribune, which described the volume as “a gem for little folks” (Dec. 18, 1855: 1).
39. The copy of the original 1855 edition of Beautiful Gate with this inscription is in Special Collections, Hale Library, Kansas State University.
40. An interesting side fact is that during the time between Crossbearers and Susan Chesebro’ largely abandoned publishing short fiction in periodicals.
41. More specifically, ten major periodicals and newspapers carried reviews of Children of Light, while seven did so for Susan. I have also found a fragment of an eighth review from the Worcester Palladium.
42. Baym 221–22; Freibert and White 322; Lloyd 783.
43. Philly and Kit was announced that month in the American Publishers’ Circular and Literary Gazette as a “new work” priced at $1 (May 10, 1855: 282).
44. Elizabeth Stoddard, “Our Lady Correspondent,” Daily Alta California Aug. 3, 1856, The Morgesons & Other Writings, Published and Unpublished, ed. Lawrence Buell and Sandra A. Zagarell (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1985) 325–26.
45. For the view of Victoria as a conventional sentimental novel, see Brown 285. Brief interpretations of the book as a feminist critique appear in Wolfe 79 and Baym 223, 226.
46. Eleven of the seventeen appeared in Harper’s, in whose pages Chesebro’ averaged roughly a story a year until 1863, when, in that one year, Harper’s published five of her tales.
47. Tebbel 361.
48. Derby 46; Tebbel 348.
49. Tebbel 350.
50. Tebbel 344, 348, 544. Carleton’s savvy as a publisher did fall short in one notable case, however. In 1867 he turned down the opportunity to publish Mark Twain’s Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches (Justin Kaplan, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966] 26–27).
51. Lawrence Buell and Sandra Zagarell, introduction, The Morgesons & Other Writings 3.
52. Madeleine B. Stern, “G. W. Carleton,” Publishers for Mass Entertainment in Nineteenth Century America, ed. Madeleine B. Stern (Boston: Hall, 1980) 86.
53. Tebbel 350.
54. Although reviews of Carradine appeared in five major periodicals and newspapers, which was slightly less than what each of her previous novels had secured, several smaller regional publications ran reviews of the book, making its overall total approximately equal to the numbers for her first four books.
55. Commercial Advertiser qtd. in advertisement for Peter Carradine, New York Tribune Nov. 7, 1864: 6.
56. Interestingly enough, seven years earlier a reviewer in the United States Magazine had reached just the opposite conclusion, claiming that her fictional techniques indicate that “Miss Cheseboro [sic] is deficient in imagination” (Sept. 1862: 243).
57. Freibert and White 322; Wolfe 79; Baym 230. The differences—as well as the relations and even overlappings—between realistic and domestic/sentimental fiction have, of course, been the subject of substantial discussion and disagreement. See, e.g., Tompkins, 149, 152–53; Harold H. Kolb, Illusion of Life: American Realism as a Literary Form (Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 1969), 137–38; Alfred Habegger, Gender, Fantasy, and Realism in American Literature (New York: Columbia UP, 1982); Philip Fisher, Hard Facts: Setting and Form in the American Novel (New York: Oxford UP, 1987); Michael Davitt Bell, “Women’s Fiction and the Literary Marketplace in the 1850s,” Prose Writing 1820–1865, vol. 2 of The Cambridge History of American Literature, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch (New York: Cambridge UP, 1995) 118; Nancy Glazener, Reading for Realism: A History of a U.S. Literary Institution, 1850–1910 (Durham: Duke UP, 1997) 38, 121–29; Nancy Bentley, “Women and Realist Authorship,” Prose Writing 1860–1920, vol. 3 of The Cambridge History of American Literature, ed. Sacvan Bercovitch (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005) 151–52; and Richard Lehan, Realism and Naturalism: The Novel in an Age of Transition (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2005) 112, 199.
58. On the status of local-color and regionalist fiction as inferior to realism (or as an inferior version of full-blown realism) in the 1860s and after, see Glazener 198–99, 214–15, and 249; Richard Brodhead, Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993) 166–67; and Donna M. Campbell, Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885–1915 (Athens: Ohio UP, 1997) 22, 59–146.
59. Tebbel 312–15.
60. Gregory Haynes, “American Tract Society,” Dzwonkoski, ed., American Literary Publishing Houses 19.
61. The American Publishers’ Circular and Literary Gazette inverted its title when it moved from New York to Philadelphia in 1863 to become the American Literary Gazette and Publishers’ Circular.
62. These copies of Sparrow’s Fall and Glenn Cabin are in Special Collections, Hale Library, Kansas State University.
63. Such reception indices may help explain Chesebro’s motivation for turning to the American Tract Society for the publication of Glen Cabin. The society was already a prominent publisher of books for children, and with Sparrow’s Fall and Amy Carr, Chesebro’ had demonstrated that she could write fiction that could be marketed to and have some appeal for a juvenile audience. Hence, she may have seen the society as a good match that also offered a promising opportunity for national distribution—and possibly successful sales—of Glen Cabin.
64. Freibert 37; Hunt 4–6.
65. Some evidence suggests that Chesebro’ may have finished at least a partial draft of Foe as early as 1863, for in February of that year she informed Robert Bonner that “I have a story, a novel, in Mister Miller’s hands … of life in the Pennsylvania Coal Mines, amongst the Mennonites,” which is the scenario of Foe (Chesebro’ to Bonner, Feb. 9, 1863, Correspondence, Robert Bonner Papers, New York Public Library).
66. Tebbel 401–2, 445.
67. Freibert 38; Wolfe 80.
68. Qtd. in James S. Hart, A Manual of American Literature: A Text-Book for Schools and Colleges (Philadelphia: Eldredge, 1873) 502.
69. Howells, “Recollections” 594; Oscar Fay Adams, Dictionary of American Authors, 5th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1909) 60.
70. Baym 209; Wolfe 77.
71. Wolfe 76; Lloyd 784; Fleenor 348.
72. See, e.g., Freibert 37; and Sheila Post-Lauria, Correspondent Colorings: Melville in the Marketplace (Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 1996) 128.
73. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1984) 86, 26.
74. Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988), 13–14.
CONCLUSION: American Literary History and the Historical Study of Interpretive Practices
1. Michael Davitt Bell, The Problem of American Realism: Studies in the Cultural History of a Literary Idea (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993) 1. On the development of the romance-to-realism paradigm in academic criticism in the 1920s, see David Shumway, Creating American Civilization: A Genealogy of American Literature as an Academic Discipline (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1994) 136–37, 168. A variation of this paradigm has marked studies of nineteenth-century American women’s authorship over the last thirty years, which has tended to posit a dichotomy in women’s fiction between an emphasis on “sentimental and domestic fiction in the antebellum period and on regionalism in the postbellum period” (Susan Williams, Reclaiming Authorship: Literary Women in America, 1850–1900 (Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2006) 1–2.
2. Richard Chase, The American Novel and Its Tradition (New York: Gordian, 1957); Joel Porte, The Romance in America: Studies in Cooper, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and James (Middleton, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1969).
3. Alfred Habegger, Gender, Fantasy, and Realism in American Literature (New York: Columbia UP, 1982). Other proponents of this position include Lucy M. Freibert and Barbara A. White, introduction, Hidden Hands: An Anthology of American Women Writers, 1790–1870, ed. Lucy M. Freibert and Barbara A. White (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1985) 4.
4. G. R. Thompson and Eric Carl Link, Neutral Ground: New Traditionalism and the American Romance Controversy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1999) 60. Eric Sundquist, who curiously reaffirms the traditional paradigm even as he questions it, makes a related though somewhat different argument by claiming that “from the Civil War to W.W. I,” American “realist fiction—like the literature of romance that preceded it … kept spilling over into the ‘neutral territory’ of romance that Hawthorne had made emblematic of American fiction” (“Introduction: The Country of the Blue,” American Realism: New Essays, ed. Eric J. Sundquist (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1982) 7.
5. Recent examples are Gregg Crane, Cambridge Introduction to the Nineteenth-Century American Novel (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007) 31, 148–64; and Richard Lehan, Realism and Naturalism: The Novel in an Age of Transition (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 2005). Current anthologies subscribing to the paradigm include the 7th edition (2007, vol. C) of the Norton Anthology of American Literature, the 10th edition (2002, vol. 2) of the McGraw-Hill American Tradition in Literature, the Bedford Anthology of American Literature (2008, vol. 2), and the Penguin-Pearson Longman American Literature (2004, vol. 2).
6. Warner Bertoff, Ferment of Realism: American Literature, 1884–1919 (New York: Free Press; London: Collier-Macmillan, 1965) 3; Bell 2.
7. “Novels and Novelists,” North American Review Jan. 1853: 105.
8. “Native Element in American Literature,” Century Magazine June 1883: 288, July 1883: 362–63.
9. On the romantic revival, the realist wars, and the impact of the former upon the latter, see Edwin Cady, The Realist at War: The Mature Years 1885–1920 of William Dean Howells (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 1959), 28–55; Eric Carl Link, “The War of 1893; or, Realism and Idealism in the Late Nineteenth Century,” American Transcendental Quarterly 11 (1997): 309–21; and Nancy Glazener, Reading for Realism: A History of a U.S. Literary Institution, 1850–1910 (Durham: Duke UP, 1997) 145–75.
10. Glazener 157.
11. It should be mentioned that the stability—or lack thereof—of the romance/novel distinction in antebellum America has itself been the subject of interpretive disagreement among late-twentieth-century critics. Two of the strongest critiques of the stability and consistency of the dichotomy before the Civil War include Nina Baym, “Concepts of the Romance in Hawthorne’s America,” Nineteenth-Century Fiction 38 (1984): 426–43; and John McWilliams, “The Rationale for ‘American Romance,’ ” The New Americanists: Revisionist Interpretations of the Canon, ed. Donald Pease, special issue of boundary 2 17 (1990): 71–82. By contrast, Glazener has maintained that “polemics about the novel, which contrasted it most frequently with the ‘romance,’ coursed through the 1850s and 1860s” in American periodicals (47). Thompson and Link argue more forcefully and at great length for this position, claiming that the novel versus romance distinction “directly reflect[ed] the dominant understanding in mid-nineteenth-century America of the two main varieties of modern prose fiction” (14–15).
12. Review of The Pilot, New-York Mirror Dec. 1824, rpt. in Fenimore Cooper: The Critical Heritage, ed. George Dekker and John P. McWilliams (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), 74. Subsequent citations to reviews in this collection will be given parenthetically as FCCH.
13. John Anderson, “Cooper’s Sea Novels Spurned in the Maintop,” Modern Language Notes 66 (1951): 389.
14. Thomas Lounsbury, James Fenimore Cooper (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1882), 51, 276; Henry S. Pancoast, Introduction to American Literature (New York: Holt, 1900) 138–39.
15. Not surprisingly, perhaps, there has been some disagreement among critics as to what exactly Twain is claiming about Cooper’s novel. Everett Carter, for example, read the essay as an attack upon Cooper as a romancer and as an argument for realism (Howells and the Age of Realism [Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1954] 72), but Chase felt that Twain was faulting Cooper for producing an incompetent romance (American Novel and Its Tradition 147–48). Thompson and Link argue that Twain “is not rejecting the romance but advocating a form of it in which improbabilities do not subvert realistic attention to detail” (Neutral Ground 144).
16. See, e.g., Richard Abcarian, “Cooper’s Critics and the Realistic Novel,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 8 (1966): 33–41.
17. James D. Wallace, Early Cooper and His Audience (New York: Columbia UP, 1986) 181.
18. Church Review Jan. 1851 and Southern Literary Messenger June 1851, both rpt. in Hawthorne: The Critical Heritage, ed. J. Donald Crowley (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 181 and 216, respectively. Subsequent references to reviews in this volume will be given parenthetically as HCH.
19. These reviews are all reprinted in Hawthorne: The Critical Heritage 250–52, 253–58, 264–67, and 340–51. If it seems odd that antebellum reviewers saw the Blithedale Romance as realistic, despite its title, one need only look at modern academic critics who have done the same. See, e.g., Katherine Kearns, Nineteenth-Century American Literary Realism: Through the Looking-Glass (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996), 205–32.
20. Springfield Republican June 22, 1876, rpt. in Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. John L. Idol Jr., and Buford Jones (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994) 381.
21. Henry James, Hawthorne (New York: Harper, 1879) 110, 163, 3, 120.
22. Springfield Republican Oct. 2, 1891, rpt. in Melville: The Critical Heritage, ed. Watson C. Branch (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974) 422. Subsequent citations from this volume are given parenthetically as MCH.
23. Glazener 127; James, Literary Criticism, ed. Leon Edel, 2 vols. (New York: Library of America, 1984) 1: 221.
24. Atlantic Monthly Mar. 1877, rpt. in part in Dickens: The Critical Heritage, ed. Philip Collins (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1971) 317. Subsequent references to this volume will appear parenthetically as DCH.
25. Howells qtd. in Edwin Cady, “ ‘The Wizard Hand’: Hawthorne, 1864–1900,” Hawthorne Centenary Essays, ed. Roy Harvey Pearce (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1964) 333; James, Literary Criticism 1: 130.
26. North American Review July 1818, rpt. in Scott: The Critical Heritage, ed. John O. Hayden (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1970) 148.
27. Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883; New York: Penguin, 1986) 328.
28. William Dean Howells, Criticism and Fiction and Other Essays, ed. Clara Marburg Kirk and Rudolf Kirk (New York: New York UP, 1959) 17, 38; Howells, Heroines of Fiction (New York: Harper, 1901) 99, 110.
29. Bell 8. On the nebulousness and inconsistencies plaguing postbellum conceptions of realism, see also Warner Bertoff, Ferment of Realism 1884–1914 (New York: Free Press, 1965) 3.
30. James, Literary Criticism 2: 978.
31. Howells, “Emile Zola,” North American Review Nov. 1892: 390; Criticism and Fiction 163.
32. “Frank Norris’ Weekly Letter,” Chicago American Aug. 3, 1901, rpt. in Literary Criticism of Frank Norris, ed. Donald Pizer (Austen: U of Texas P, 1964) 73–75. Exemplifying further the shape shifting that marked postbellum conceptualizations of genres, Norris on another occasion championed Zola as a romancer, while asserting that “Naturalism is a form of romanticism, not an inner circle of realism” (“Zola as a Romantic Writer,” Literary Criticism of Frank Norris 72).
33. The phrase “vividly realistic” appeared in a review of Tom Sawyer in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin Jan. 20, 1877, rpt. in Mark Twain: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Louis J. Budd (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999) 165. For other reviews characterizing Twain’s novels as realistic, see 157, 162, 166, 267, 277, 288, and throughout. Subsequent citations from this volume appear parenthetically as MTCR.
34. Howells, “Editor’s Study,” Harper’s Monthly Jan. 1890 and “The New Historical Romance,” North American Review Dec. 1900, rpt. in W. D. Howells as Critic, ed. Edwin H. Cady (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973) 173, 310.
35. Howells, “Henry James, Jr.,” Century Magazine Nov. 1882, W. D. Howells as Critic 68.
36. James to Howells, Feb. 21, 1884, qtd. by Kirk and Kirk in Howells, Criticism and Fiction 96.
37. Jacques Derrida, “The Law of Genre,” Glyph 7 (1980): 53, 61.
38. Tony Bennett, Outside Literature (London: Routledge, 1990) 92, 101–2.
39. John Frow, Genre (London: Routledge, 2006), 29, 17–18, and 102.
40. It should be noted that both Glazener and Barbara Hochman have partially anticipated my argument about postbellum realism by pointing out that “reading practices played a formative role in shaping the realist aesthetic” (Hochman, Getting at the Author: Reimagining Books and Reading in the Age of American Realism [Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2001] 29) and by calling “high realism,” in particular, an “institution of reception” (Glazener 14). Bell also makes a related point by questioning the claim that “a generic tradition of realism,” marked by “mimetic practices” within texts, existed in the United States in the last three decades of the nineteenth century. The “true story of the transformation of American fiction after the Civil War,” argues Bell, “is less a triumphant saga of the rise of realism … than a history of this contention” about such a rise (5).
41. For these tenets of postbellum realism, see Hochman 11–12, 26; and Phillip Barrish, American Realism, Critical Theory, and Intellectual Prestige, 1880–1995 (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001) 17.
42. Bell 6 and 18–37; Glazener 108–46.
43. Dominick LaCapra , History and Criticism (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985) 130. This critique has also been raised by Martyn P. Thompson, “Reception Theory and the Interpretation of Historical Meaning,” History and Theory 32 (1993): 257; and David Perkins, Is Literary History Possible? (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992) 23–27.
44. For an extended discussion of the “linguistic turn” in historiography and its effects on the philosophy and practice of history, see Elizabeth A. Clark, History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2004). For a discussion of that turn as it developed in the journal History and Theory, see Richard Vann, “Turning Linguistic: History and Theory and History and Theory, 1960–1975,” A New Philosophy of History, ed. Frank Ankersmit and Hans Kellner (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1995) 40–69.
45. Rabinow and Sullivan, “The Interpretive Turn: The Emergence of an Approach,” Interpretive Social Science: A Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow and William M. Sullivan (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1979), 1–21; Mary Fulbrook, Historical Theory (London: Routledge, 2002) 5; Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978) 55.
46. Michel de Certeau, The Writing of History, trans. Tom Conley (New York: Columbia UP, 1988) 30.
47. Keith Windschuttle, The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering our Past (New York: Free Press, 1997).
48. On the relation between the current “crisis in history” and these historical antecedents, see Brook Thomas, “The New Historicism and Other Old-Fashioned Topics,” The New Historicism, ed. H. Aram Veeser (New York: Routledge, 1989) 182–203. For an overview of the movement in twentieth-century history from “scientific objectivity” and logical positivism to postrucutralist/postmodern problematizations, see Fulbrook 15–27; and George Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan UP, 1997).
49. Hans Kellner, introduction, Ankersmit and Kellner, New Philosophy of History 10.
50. Nancy Partner, “Historicity in an Age of Reality-Fictions,” Ankersmit and Kellner, New Philosophy of History 22.
51. Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1978) 279.
52. Stanley Fish, “Commentary: The Young and the Restless,” Veeser, New Historicism 303–16. More recently, Fulbrook has offered a somewhat similar argument. Though not going so far as to claim that theory can have no impact on historical practice, she has argued that the constructed, interpretive nature of historical explanations “does not logically preclude them from also being an effective means of communicating with an audience an insight based on extensive research in the sources, on the basis of which certain generalizations and arguments may be made” (154).
53. Fish 308.
54. Raymond Williams, Long Revolution (London: Chatto and Windus, 1961) 53.
55. Fulbrook 189.