by Katie McGettigan
University of Massachusetts Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-1-61376-965-2 | Paper: 978-1-62534-685-8 | Cloth: 978-1-62534-686-5


During the antebellum period, British publishers increasingly brought out their own authorized and unauthorized editions of American literary works as the popularity of print exploded and literacy rates grew. Playing a formative role in the shaping of American literature, the industry championed the work of US-based writers, highlighted the cultural value of American literary works, and intervened in debates about the future of American literature, authorship, and print culture.

The Transatlantic Materials of American Literature examines the British editions of American fiction, poetry, essays, and autobiographies from writers like Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Hannah Flagg Gould. Putting these publications into historical context, Katie McGettigan considers key issues of the day, including developments in copyright law, changing print technologies, and the financial considerations at play for authors and publishers. This innovative study also uncovers how the transatlantic circulation of these works exposed the racial violence and cultural nationalism at the heart of the American experiment, producing overlapping and competing visions of American nationhood in the process.