"The Business of Literary Circles in Nineteenth-Century America " explores the economics of professional authorship--the contiguity between business practice and aesthetic principle--in the most significant literary circles of the American ...
can nineteenth century, from Irving's Knickerbockers, Emerson's Transcendentalists, and Garrison's abolitionists to Robert Bonner's "New York Ledger" popular fiction writers, and George Fitzhugh's proslavery pundits. Casting these cohorts in light of the competitive free market, Dowling provides a fresh history of literary business that illuminates surprising convergences between commercially averse groups like the Transcendentalists and aggressively capitalistic ones like the" Ledger "staff. Matching their identities to the commercial outlets they engaged, these circles sought the most efficient and effective instruments available to distinguish themselves from their competitors. In all cases, their business methods carefully avoided the appearance of crass materialism, cold avarice, and narrow self-interest widely associated with free market capitalism at the time, and instead emphasized market virtues such as bravery, energy, imagination, and perhaps most importantly, an almost clannish loyalty to the literary kin of the coterie itself.
Number of pages: 304
Date of publication: 26/01/2011
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