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The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770-1870 Hardcover – September 18, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0231139083 ISBN-10: 023113908X Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (September 18, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023113908X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231139083
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,734,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Loughran's logic throughout is deep, intricate, and scholarly... Good reading.

(American Journalism 1900-01-00)

Loughran's well-written book will likely promote vigorous debate among historians of U.S. nationhood, print culture, and slavery.

(Carl Ostrowski The Journal of American History 1900-01-00)

A remarkable study, both in its marshaling of archival detail and in its ambitious thesis.

(Phillip H. Round William and Mary Quarterly 1900-01-00)

...Promise[s] to be useful to literary scholars in many ways.

(College Literature)

This book is inventively dialectical, unfailingly provocative, and consistently interesting. It formulates its myraid insights with an unusually rich, incisive and occasionally playful language that is deligtful to read.

(Oz Frankel American Historical Review)


Trish Loughran possesses an unusually and admirably capacious intellectual character. This is a book that will have to be read by any serious student of the early republic and by any serious student of the crisis over slavery.

(Jonathan Arac, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English, University of Pittsburgh)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BlondiePhD on December 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Trish Loughran's The Republic in Print: Print Culture in the Age of U.S. Nation Building, 1770-1870 argues that the "print capitalism" thesis is "ahistorical" and a "postindustrial fantasy of preindustrial print's efficacy as a cross-regional agent and of federalism itself as an inevitable outcome" (xix). A clear revisionist history, The Republic in Print contends that a "nationalized" print culture did not exist before, during or after the Revolution and that if printed materials are examined closer, we will see there was actually a proliferation of "local and regional reading publics scattered across a vast and diverse geographical space" (xix). It was not the "presence of a national print culture," but instead "the absence of one that ensured U.S. founding in 1776 and 1789" (3). Loughran's argument is a paradoxical one: localism in the print public was necessary for the establishment of the republic, but the divisions in the 1830s helped lead the way for civil war by calling "forth scenes of deep division and dissent" (4).

The Republic in Print is broken into three chronological and thematic parts- The Book's Two Bodies: Print Culture and National Founding 1776-1789, The Nation in Fragments: Federal Representation and Its Discontents 1787-1789, and The Overextended Republic: Slavery, Abolition, and National Space 1790-1870. Part I is particularly interesting. In these chapters, Loughran examines how the book "is theorized as both object and ideology" (xx). Engaging in a close reading of Thomas Paine's Common Sense as well as historicizing its production, Loughran determines that the pamphlet was "not as widely produced as has been argued by Paine himself" (58) and that this was "less a revolutionary handbook" as it was "a signifier...
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Format: Paperback
An interesting book by a younger scholar that strives a bit too much to be provocative, and as such tends at times to warp the historical record to fit her thesis. The book is thought provoking in its synthesis (which at times seems forced) of important work in cultural geography, print culture and nation-building. One serious problem with the book is that it all but erases from the historical record one of the most significant facts about the early Republic and the antebellum period: that America in this period of "nation building, 1770-1870" was a remarkably vibrant Christian nation with cross-regional, trans-local religious affiliations, large-scale camp meetings, circuit-riders, etc. There is virtually none of that to be seen here, even in the period that deals with Abolitionism. It is not clear how anyone writing using Anderson's Imagined Communities to riff about nation-building and print culture could fail to mention the crucial role religion in both its material and spiritual aspects played within American society at the time. There is indeed something oddly secular about this study, as if a dominant force in American life--and American nation-building--never existed or had negligible influence. The work is clearly one of the fruits of the historical turn in literary studies of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In some ways it reminds me of Dana Nelson's National Manhood. It is thought provoking and interesting (although not as provocative as the author would like to think), and suffers from a kind of overt presentism that makes for an interesting "intervention," but flies in the face of some of the historical facts on the ground. Well worth reading!
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