In the American book trade, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and its inimitable logo featuring a borzoi wolfhound have come to signify the pinnacle of prestigious publishing. Launched in 1915 by a dynamic twenty-two-year-old and his refined fiancée, Blanche Wolf, the firm soon developed a reputation for excellence, quickly overcoming outsider status to forge a unique identity that has endured well past its founders’ lifetimes. Capturing the little-known early history of Knopf, The Art of Prestige explores the origins of the company’s rise to success during the Jazz Age, when Alfred and Blanche established themselves as literary impresarios on both sides of the Atlantic. Drawing on key archival documents from all phases of the publishing process, Amy Root Clements reconstructs the turning points and rhetorical exchanges that made Knopf’s initial books noteworthy, from the acquisitions process to design, consumer marketing, and bookselling. Lasting cornerstones of the young firm include alliances with pivotal figures in the world of graphic arts and book production and with European publishers who brought numerous Nobel Prize winners to the Borzoi list during the company’s first fifteen years. Other featured luminaries include the American authors Willa Cather, Dashiell Hammett, and Langston Hughes. The Art of Prestige also examines Alfred Knopf’s ancestry, up-bringing, and formal education at Columbia, as well as his apprenticeships with Frank Nelson Doubleday and Mitchell Kennerley—factors that would influence his business decisions for years to come. The result is a portrait of innovative branding that seamlessly merged book production with book promotion in a literary landscape that was ripe for transformation.
This illustrated collection of annotated newspaper articles and memorials by Dorothea Dix provides a forum for the great mid-nineteenth-century humanitarian and reformer to speak for herself.
Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802–87) was perhaps the most famous and admired woman in America for much of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1840s, she launched a personal crusade to persuade the various states to provide humane care and effective treatment for the mentally ill by funding specialized hospitals for that purpose. The appalling conditions endured by most mentally ill inmates in prisons, jails, and poorhouses led her to take an active interest also in prison reform and in efforts to ameliorate poverty.
In 1846–47 Dix brought her crusade to Illinois. She presented two lengthy memorials to the legislature, the first describing conditions at the state penitentiary at Alton and the second discussing the sufferings of the insane and urging the establishment of a state hospital for their care. She also wrote a series of newspaper articles detailing conditions in the jails and poorhouses of many Illinois communities.
These long-forgotten documents, which appear in unabridged form in this book, contain a wealth of information on the living conditions of some of the most unfortunate inhabitants of Illinois. In his preface, David L. Lightner describes some of the vivid images that emerge from Dorothea Dix's descriptions of social conditions in Illinois a century and a half ago: "A helpless maniac confined throughout the bitter cold of winter to a dark and filthy pit. Prison inmates chained in hallways and cellars because no more men can be squeezed into the dank and airless cells. Aged paupers auctioned off by county officers to whoever will maintain them at the lowest cost."
Lightner provides an introduction to every document, placing each memorial and newspaper article in its proper social and historical context. He also furnishes detailed notes, making these documents readily accessible to readers a century and a half later. In his final chapter, Lightner assesses both the immediate and the continuing impact of Dix's work.
As head of Suhrkamp Verlag, a premier German publishing house, Siegfried Unseld is eminently qualified to write about the relationship between authors and their publishers—and he does so here with engaging partisan enthusiasm. Long familiar with what he terms the Janus-headed nature of the publishing profession, Unseld considers the dual responsibilities of a publisher: in one direction, his responsibility for the material success of his firm; and in the other, his responsibility to the intellectual ideals and spiritual requirements of his authors.
Through close examination of four writers, Unseld shows how the author's personality can affect the publisher's dilemma. Hermann Hesse, by virtue of his loyalty and his desire for financial independence, enjoyed an exemplary relationship with his publishers. With Bertolt Brecht it was all confusion; with Rainer Maria Rilke, a one-author-one-publisher lifetime alliance; with Swiss poet Robert Walser, a mire of difficulties ("Each book printed," he once said, was "a grave for its author").
Every book has a story of its own, a path leading from the initial idea that sparked it to its emergence into the world in published form. No two books follow quite the same path, but all are shaped by a similar array of market forces and writing craft concerns as well as by a cast of characters stretching beyond the author. Behind the Book explores how eleven contemporary first-time authors, in genres ranging from post-apocalyptic fiction to young adult fantasy to travel memoir, navigated these pathways with their debut works. Based on extensive interviews with the authors, it covers the process of writing and publishing a book from beginning to end, including idea generation, developing a process, building a support network, revising the manuscript, finding the right approach to publication, building awareness, and ultimately moving on to the next project. It also includes insights from editors, agents, publishers, and others who helped to bring these projects to life.
Unlike other books on writing craft, Behind the Book looks at the larger picture of how an author’s work and choices can affect the outcome of a project. The authors profiled in each story open up about their challenges, mistakes, and successes. While their paths to publication may be unique, together they offer important lessons that authors of all types can apply to their own writing journeys.
Writers talk about their work in many ways: as an art, as a calling, as a lifestyle. Too often missing from these conversations is the fact that writing is also a business. The reality is, those who want to make a full- or part-time job out of writing are going to have a more positive and productive career if they understand the basic business principles underlying the industry.
The Business of Being a Writer offers the business education writers need but so rarely receive. It is meant for early-career writers looking to develop a realistic set of expectations about making money from their work or for working writers who want a better understanding of the industry. Writers will gain a comprehensive picture of how the publishing world works—from queries and agents to blogging and advertising—and will learn how they can best position themselves for success over the long term.
Jane Friedman has more than twenty years of experience in the publishing industry, with an emphasis on digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is encouraging without sugarcoating, blending years of research with practical advice that will help writers market themselves and maximize their writing-related income. It will leave them empowered, confident, and ready to turn their craft into a career.
In the 1840s and 1850s, as the market revolution swept the United States, the world of literature confronted for the first time the gaudy glare of commercial culture. Amid growing technological sophistication and growing artistic rejection of the soullessness of materialism, authorship passed from an era of patronage and entered the clamoring free market. In this setting, romantic notions of what it meant to be an author came under attack, and authors became professionals.
In lively and provocative writing, David Dowling moves beyond a study of the emotional toll that this crisis in self-definition had on writers to examine how three sets of authors—in pairings of men and women: Harriet Wilson and Henry David Thoreau, Fanny Fern and Walt Whitman, and Rebecca Harding Davis and Herman Melville—engaged with and transformed the book market. What were their critiques of the capitalism that was transforming the world around them? How did they respond to the changing marketplace that came to define their very success as authors? How was the role of women influenced by these conditions?
Capital Letters concludes with a fascinating and daring transhistorical comparison of how two superstar authors—Herman Melville in the nineteenth century and Stephen King today—have negotiated the shifting terrain of the literary marketplace. The result is an important contribution to our understanding of print culture and literary work.
Readers do not always take into account how books that combine image and text make their meanings. But for the Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti, such considerations were central.
Christina Rossetti and Illustration maps the production and reception of Rossetti's illustrated poetry, devotional prose, and work for children, both in the author's lifetime and in posthumous twentieth-century reprints.
Lorraine Janzen Kooistra’s reading of Rossetti's illustrated works reveals for the first time the visual-verbal aesthetic that was fundamental to Rossetti's poetics. Her exhaustive archival research brings to light new information on how Rossetti's commitment to illustration and attitudes to copyright and control influenced her transactions with publishers and the books they produced. Janzen Kooistra also tracks the poet’s reception in the twentieth century through a complex web of illustrated books produced for a wide range of audiences.
Analyzing an impressive array of empirical data, Janzen Kooistra shows how Rossetti's packaging for commodity consumption -- by religious presses, publishers of academic editions and children’s picture books, and makers of erotica and collectibles -- influenced the reception of her work and her place in literary history.
In Culture, Genre, and Literary Vocation, Michael Davitt Bell charts the important and often overlooked connection between literary culture and authors' careers. Bell's influential essays on nineteenth-century American writers—originally written for such landmark projects as The Columbia Literary History of the United States and The Cambridge History of American Literature—are gathered here with a major new essay on Richard Wright.
Throughout, Bell revisits issues of genre with an eye toward the unexpected details of authors' lives, and invites us to reconsider the hidden functions that terms such as "romanticism" and "realism" served for authors and their critics. Whether tracing the demands of the market or the expectations of readers, Bell examines the intimate relationship between literary production and culture; each essay closely links the milieu in which American writers worked with the trajectory of their storied careers.
The late eighteenth century witnessed an explosion of intellectual activity in Scotland by such luminaries as David Hume, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, James Boswell, and Robert Burns. And the books written by these seminal thinkers made a significant mark during their time in almost every field of polite literature and higher learning throughout Britain, Europe, and the Americas.
In this magisterial history, Richard B. Sher breaks new ground for our understanding of the Enlightenment and the forgotten role of publishing during that period. The Enlightenment and the Book seeks to remedy the common misperception that such classics as The Wealth of Nations and The Life of Samuel Johnson were written by authors who eyed their publishers as minor functionaries in their profession. To the contrary, Sher shows how the process of bookmaking during the late eighteenth-century involved a deeply complex partnership between authors and their publishers, one in which writers saw the book industry not only as pivotal in the dissemination of their ideas, but also as crucial to their dreams of fame and monetary gain. Similarly, Sher demonstrates that publishers were involved in the project of bookmaking in order to advance human knowledge as well as to accumulate profits.
The Enlightenment and the Book explores this tension between creativity and commerce that still exists in scholarly publishing today. Lavishly illustrated and elegantly conceived, it will be must reading for anyone interested in the history of the book or the production and diffusion of Enlightenment thought.
A Floating Chinaman
Hua Hsu Harvard University Press, 2016 Library of Congress E183.8.C5H74 2016 | Dewey Decimal 951.05
Who gets to speak for China? During the interwar years, when American condescension toward China yielded to fascination with all things Chinese, a circle of writers sparked an unprecedented conversation over U.S.-Chinese relations. Hua Hsu tells how they became ensnared in bitter rivalries over who could claim the title of leading China expert.
Based on extensive fieldwork at two well-known commercial publishers of scholarly books, Walter W. Powell details the different ways in which both internal politics and external networks influence decisions about what should be published. Powell focuses on the work of acquisitions editors: how they decide which few manuscripts, out of hundreds, to sponsor for publication; how editorial autonomy is shaped, but never fully curbed, by unobtrusive controls; and how the search process fits into the social structure of the American academy. Powell's observations—and the many candid remarks of publishers and their staffs—recreate the workaday world of publishing.
Throughout, the sociology of organizations and of culture serves as Powell's interpretive framework. Powell shows how scholarly publishers help define what is "good" social science research and how the history and tradition of a publishing house contribute to the development of an organizational identity. Powell's review of actual correspondence, from outside letters proposing projects to internal "kill" letters of rejection, suggests that editors and authors at times form their own quasi-organization with external allegiances and bonds beyond those of the publishing house.
"This is a welcome addition to the literature on the life of the organizations that produce our science and our culture. Powell's intimate look at two scholarly publishing companies has an insider's appreciation of the book business and an outsider's eye for questions the editors are not asking themselves."—Michael Schudson, University of California at San Diego
"Getting Into Print will long be the book about how academic editors choose the titles they sponsor. Even experienced editors and authors will find new insights here and revealing comparisons with decision-making in other kinds of organizations."—Edward Tenner, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Getting Into Print is an unusually outstanding ethnographic study in that it reflects the evocative richness of detail associated with the ethnographic approach while simultaneously maintaining a clear-headed, analytical distance from the subject that allows for a meaningful theoretical contribution. Powell is an astute ethnographer who presents a vital and compelling 'insider's view' of the decision-making process in scholarly publishing, making this book fascinating reading for all those involved in the 'publish-or-perish' syndrome."—Barbara Levitt, American Journal of Sociology
Kurt Wolff (1887-1963) was a singular presence in the literary world of the twentieth century, a cultural force shaping modern literature itself and pioneering significant changes in publishing. During an intense, active career that spanned two continents and five decades, Wolff launched seven publishing houses and nurtured an extraordinary array of writers, among them Franz Kafka, Lou Andreas-Salomé, Boris Pasternak, Günter Grass, Robert Musil, Paul Valéry, Julian Green, Lampedusa, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Available for the first time in paperback, this book is a succinct distillation of the work and thought of William Charvat, a pioneer in the study of the history of the American book. This burgeoning field of inquiry investigates the social and cultural context of the act of literary creation by relating it to the modes of its production and distribution. This new edition of Literary Publishing in America contains an afterword by Michael Winship that discusses scholarship in the field since publication of Charvat's groundbreaking work.
Rarely have genres of literary expression been looked upon or read as commodities within a market system; we tend to think of our literature as "pure," untainted by any interaction with the world of commerce. Critical accounts of modernism are frequently theorized across the divide between the project itself and the larger marketplace, the world of consumption. Marketing Modernisms calls into question this curious separation and examines the material, intellectual, and ideological practices that comprise the notion of "marketing." Marketing Modernisms is concerned with Anglo-American modernists and their potential readers in both the popular audience and the academy. Examining the forms of promotion employed by book publishing houses, in the editorial offices of literary magazines, and in the minds of modern writers, the essays bring to the fore little-known connections between writers such as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Langston Hughes, and the commercial marketplace they engaged. The book's provocative themes include the strategies that modernists and their publishers employed to market their work, to fashion themselves as artists or celebrities, and to bridge the gap between an avant-garde elite and the popular reader. Other essays explore the difficulties confronted by women, African American, and gay and lesbian writers in gaining literary acceptance and achieving commercial representation while maintaining the gendered, racial, and sexual aspects of their lives.
In this sophisticated application of modern Marxist thought, N. N. Feltes demonstrates the determining influence of nineteenth-century publishing practices on the Victorian novel. His dialectical analysis leads to a comprehensive explanation of the development of capitalist novel production into the twentieth century.
Feltes focuses on five English novels: Dickens's Pickwick Papers, Thackeray's Henry Esmond, Eliot's Middlemarch, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and Forster's Howards End. Published at approximately twenty year intervals between 1836 and 1920, they each represent a different first-publication format: part-issue, three-volume, bimonthly, magazine-serial, and single-volume. Drawing on publishing, economic, and literary history, Feltes offers a broad, synthetic explanation of the relationship between the production and format of each novel, and the way in which these determine, in the last instance, the ideology of the text.
Modes of Production in Victorian Novels provides a Marxist structuralist analysis of historical events and practices described elsewhere only empirically, and traces their relationship to literary texts which have been analyzed only idealistically, thus setting these familiar works firmly and perhaps permanently into a framework of historic materialism.
A new perspective on a book that transformed Victorian illustration into a stand-alone art.
Edward Moxon’s 1857 edition of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Poems dramatically redefined the relationship between images and words in print. Cooke’s study, the first book to address the subject in over 120 years, presents a sweeping analysis of the illustrators and the complex and challenging ways in which they interpreted Tennyson’s poetry. This book considers the volume’s historical context, examining in detail the roles of publisher, engravers, and binding designer, as well as the material difficulties of printing its fine illustrations, which recreate the effects of painting. Arranged thematically and reproducing all the original images, the chapters present a detailed reappraisal of the original volume and the distinctive culture that produced it.
A writer who simply panders to the public is seldom taken for an artist. An artist who cannot publish is seldom granted a career. This dilemma, the subject of Muse in the Machine, has been home to many authors of serious fiction since the eighteenth century. But it is especially pointed for American writers, since the United States never fostered a sustainable elite culture readership. Its writers have always been reliant on mass publicity’s machinery to survive; and when they depict that machinery, they also depict that reliance and the desire to transcend its banal formulas. This book looks at artist tales from Henry James to Don DeLillo’s Mao II, but also engages more indirect expressions of this tension between Romantic individualism and commercial requirements in Nathanael West, Vladimir Nabokov, and Thomas Pynchon. It covers the twentieth century, but its focus is not another rehearsal of “media theory” or word versus image. Rather, it aims to show how various novels “about” publicity culture also enact their authors’ own dramas: how they both need and try to critique the “machine.” In subject as well as approach, this study questions the current impasse between those who say that the aesthetic aspires to its own pure realm, and those who insist that it partakes of everyday practicality. Both sides are right; this book examines the consequences of that reality.
"Well argued and documented, Politics and Scholarship is a fascinating reading of a broader historical perspective of feminist concerns than just the three journals of focus: Feminist Studies, Frontiers, and Signs. The author's historical framework establishes an important overview that should have greater visibility."
-- J'nana Morse Sellery, coauthor of Elizabeth Bowen: A Bibliography
Countering assumptions about early American print culture and challenging our scholarly fixation on the novel, Jared Gardner reimagines the early American magazine as a rich literary culture that operated as a model for nation-building by celebrating editorship over authorship and serving as a virtual salon in which citizens were invited to share their different perspectives. The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture reexamines early magazines and their reach to show how magazine culture was multivocal and presented a porous distinction between author and reader, as opposed to novel culture, which imposed a one-sided authorial voice and restricted the agency of the reader.
Thinking Outside the Book
Augusta Rohrbach University of Massachusetts Press Library of Congress PS149.R64 2014 | Dewey Decimal 810.9928709034
In Thinking Outside the Book, Augusta Rohrbach works through the increasing convergences between digital humanities and literary studies to explore the meaning and primacy of the book as a literary, material, and cultural artifact. Rohrbach assembles a rather unlikely cohort of nineteenth-century women writers—Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, Sojourner Truth, Hannah Crafts, Augusta Evans, and Mary Chesnut—to consider the publishing culture of their period from the perspective of our current digital age, bringing together scholarly concepts from both print culture and new media studies. In nineteenth-century America, women from a variety of racial and class affiliations were bombarding the print market with their literary productions, taking advantage of burgeoning rates of literacy and advances in publishing technology. Their work challenged prevailing modes of authorship and continues to do so today. Each chapter of Thinking Outside the Book positions a focal figure as both paradigmatic and problematic within the context of key terms that define the study of the book. In lieu of terms such as literacy, authorship, publication, edition, and editor, Rohrbach develops an alternate typology that includes mediation, memory, history, testimony, and loss. Recognizing that the field spans radio, cinema, television, and the Internet, she draws comparisons to the present day, when Web 2.0 allows writers from varying backgrounds and positions to seek out readers without “gatekeepers” limiting their exposure. More than a literary history, this book takes up theories of recovery, literacy, authorship, narrative, the book, and new media in connection with race, gender, class, and region.
Did the emergence of a free press liberate eighteenth-century American authors? Most critics and historians have assumed so. In a study certain to force a rethinking of early American literary culture, Grantland S. Rice overturns this dominant view. Rice argues that the lapse of Puritan censorship, the consolidation of copyright law, and the explosion of a commercial print culture confronted writers in the new United States with a striking predicament: the depoliticization and commodification of public expression.
Rice shows that the rigorous censorship practiced by Puritan authorities conferred an implicit prestige on texts as civic interventions, helping to foster a vigorous and indigenous tradition of sociopolitical criticism. With special attention to the sudden emergence of the novel in post-revolutionary America, Rice reveals how the emergence of economic liberalism undermined the earlier tradition of political writing by transforming American authorship from an expression of individual civic conscience to a market-oriented profession.
Includes discussions of the writings of Benjamin Franklin, Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crèvecoeur, and Hugh Henry Brackenridge.
Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing explores “neglected circulatory writing processes” to better understand why and how digital writers compose, revise, and deliver arguments that undergo sometimes constant revision. John R. Gallagher also looks at how digital writers respond to comments, develop a brand, and evolve their arguments—all post-publication.
With the advent of easy-to-use websites, ordinary people have become internet writers, disseminating their texts to large audiences. Social media sites enable writers’ audiences to communicate back to the them, instantly and often. Even professional writers work within interfaces that place comments adjacent to their text, privileging the audience’s voice. Thus, writers face the prospect of attending to their writing after they deliver their initial arguments. Update Culture and the Afterlife of Digital Writing describes the conditions that encourage “published” texts to be revisited. It demonstrates—through forty case studies of Amazon reviewers, redditors, and established journalists—how writers consider the timing, attention, and management of their writing under these ever-evolving conditions.
Online culture, from social media to blog posts, requires a responsiveness to readers that is rarely duplicated in print and requires writers to consistently reread, edit, and update texts, a process often invisible to readers. This book takes questions of circulation online and shows, via interviews with both writers and participatory audience members, that writing studies must contend with writing’s afterlife. It will be of interest to researchers, scholars, and students of writing studies and the fields of rhetoric, communication, education, technical communication, digital writing, and social media, as well as all content creators interested in learning how to create more effective posts, comments, replies, and reviews.
For Walt Whitman, living and working in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, Reconstruction meant not only navigating these tumultuous years alongside his fellow citizens but also coming to terms with his own memories of the war. Just as the work of national reconstruction would continue long past its official end in 1877, Whitman’s own reconstruction would continue throughout the remainder of his life as he worked to revise his poetic project—and his public image—to incorporate the disasters that had befallen the Union. In this innovative and insightful analysis of the considerable poetic and personal reimagining that is the hallmark of these postwar years, Martin Buinicki reveals the ways that Whitman reconstructed and read the war.
The Reconstruction years would see Whitman transformed from newspaper editor and staff journalist to celebrity contributor and nationally recognized public lecturer, a transformation driven as much by material developments in the nation as by his own professional and poetic ambitions while he expanded and cemented his place in the American literary landscape. Buinicki places Whitman’s postwar periodical publications and business interests in context, closely examining his “By the Roadside” cluster as well as MemorandaDuring the War and Specimen Days as part of his larger project of personal and artistic reintegration. He traces Whitman’s shifting views of Ulysses S. Grant as yet another way to understand the poet’s postwar life and profession and reveals the emergence of Whitman the public historian at the end of Reconstruction.
Whitman’s personal reconstruction was political, poetic, and public, and his prose writings, like his poetry, formed a major part of the postwar figure that he presented to the nation. Looking at the poet’s efforts to absorb the war into his own reconstruction narrative, Martin Buinicki provides striking new insights into the evolution of Whitman’s views and writings.
Research publications have always been key to building a successful career in science, yet little if any formal guidance is offered to young scientists on how to get research papers peer reviewed, accepted, and published by leading scientific journals. With What Editors Want, Philippa J. Benson and Susan C. Silver, two well-respected editors from the science publishing community, remedy that situation with a clear, straightforward guide that will be of use to all scientists.
Benson and Silver instruct readers on how to identify the journals that are most likely to publish a given paper, how to write an effective cover letter, how to avoid common pitfalls of the submission process, and how to effectively navigate the all-important peer review process, including dealing with revisions and rejection. With supplemental advice from more than a dozen experts, this book will equip scientists with the knowledge they need to usher their papers through publication.
The American nineteenth century witnessed a media explosion unprecedented in human history. New communications technologies seemed to be everywhere, offering opportunities and threats that seem powerfully familiar to us as we experience today’s digital revolution. Walt Whitman’s poetry reveled in the potentials of his time: “See, the many-cylinder’d steam printing-press,” he wrote, “See, the electric telegraph, stretching across the Continent, from the Western Sea to Manhattan.”
Still, as the budding poet learned, books neither sell themselves nor move themselves: without an efficient set of connections to get books to readers, the democratic media-saturated future Whitman imagined would have remained warehoused. Whitman’s works sometimes ran through the “many-cylinder’d steam printing press” and were carried in bulk on “the strong and quick locomotive.” Yet during his career, his publications did not follow a progressive path toward mass production and distribution. Even at the end of his life, in the 1890s as his fame was growing, the poet was selling copies of his latest works by hand to visitors at his small house in Camden, New Jersey. Mass media and centralization were only one part of the rich media world that Whitman embraced.
Whitman’s Drift asks how the many options for distributing books and newspapers shaped the way writers wrote and readers read. Writers like Whitman spoke to the imagination inspired by media transformations by calling attention to connectedness, to how literature not only moves us emotionally, but moves around in the world among people and places. Studying that literature and how it circulated can help us understand not just how to read Whitman’s works and times, but how to understand what is happening to our imaginations now, in the midst of the twenty-first century media explosion.
The turn of the twentieth century was a period of experimental possibility for U.S. ethnic literature as a number of writers of color began to collaborate with the predominantly white publishing trade to make their work commercially available. In this new book, Lucas A. Dietrich analyzes publishers’ and writers’ archives to show how authors—including María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Charles W. Chesnutt, Finley Peter Dunne, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Sui Sin Far—drew readers into their texts by subverting existing stereotypes and adapting styles of literary regionalism and dialect writing.
Writing across the Color Line details how this body of literature was selected for publication, edited, manufactured, advertised, and distributed, even as it faced hostile criticism and frequent misinterpretation by white readers. Shedding light on the transformative potential of multiethnic literature and the tenacity of racist attitudes that dominated the literary marketplace, Dietrich proves that Native American, African American, Latinx, Asian American, and Irish American writers of the period relied on self-caricature, tricksterism, and the careful control of authorial personae to influence white audiences.