Early African American Print Culture

Early African American Print Culture

Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein, Editors

432 pages | 6 x 9 | 43 illus.
Cloth 2012 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4425-0 | $55.00s | £36.00 | Add to cart
Paper 2014 | ISBN 978-0-8122-2334-7 | $24.95t | £16.50 | Add to cart
Ebook 2012 | ISBN 978-0-8122-0629-6 | $24.95s | £16.50 | About | Add to cart
A volume in the Material Texts series
View table of contents and excerpt

"A must-read for scholars of African American literature and those who study the development of print culture in the early American republic. . . . The book's seventeen chapters admirably illuminate the multifaceted ways African Americans engaged with the world of print between the mid-eighteenth and the early twentieth centuries."—Journal of American History

"Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein have fashioned seventeen well-conceived and -executed works into an anthology that advances our understanding of how early African American literature fits into the historical landscape of communication arts."—African American Review

"Illustrated by engrossing and, at times, disconcerting visual images, [the book] productively brings together the work of established critical figures."—Modern Language Review

"Early African American Print Culture reads like a manifesto, a call to action—sometimes directly, by cataloging the work that remains to be done, and sometimes simply by offering models of scholarship on familiar and unfamiliar authors and texts. The central point, of course, is that we need to attend to the whole of American print culture if we are to understand the complexities of African American writing throughout the nineteenth century."—John Ernest, West Virginia University

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw both the consolidation of American print culture and the establishment of an African American literary tradition, yet the two are too rarely considered in tandem. In this landmark volume, a stellar group of established and emerging scholars ranges over periods, locations, and media to explore African Americans' diverse contributions to early American print culture, both on the page and off.

The book's chapters consider domestic novels and gallows narratives, Francophone poetry and engravings of Liberia, transatlantic lyrics and San Francisco newspapers. Together, they consider how close attention to the archive can expand the study of African American literature well beyond matters of authorship to include issues of editing, illustration, circulation, and reading—and how this expansion can enrich and transform the study of print culture more generally.

Published in cooperation with the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Lara Langer Cohen teaches English at Swarthmore College and is author of The Fabrication of American Literature: Fraudulence and Antebellum Print Culture, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Jordan Alexander Stein teaches English at Fordham University.

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