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Empowering Words: Outsiders and Authorship in Early America Paperback – April 1, 2013
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Ranging in coverage from the canonical Phillis Wheatley to now-obscure artisans, Weyler demonstrates the many ways nonelite authors gained access to print to create public identities at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Empowering Words compels us to expand our definitions of agency, authorship, literacy, and literature to encompass the unlikely men and women who populated the world of print in early America.(Vincent Carretta author of Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage)
Weyler's book delves deeply into literary and cultural studies as these intersect with the study of scribal and print history-all in an effort to uncover the methods used by cultural outsiders to access the literary cultural marketplace and find multiple audiences for their work. Her study provides us a fascinating glimpse of the cultural negotiations and renegotiations taking place during the eras of the American Revolution and the early Republic.(Carla Mulford founding president of the Society of Early Americanists)
Using an innovative and persuasive approach, as well as much new material, Empowering Words reveals that slaves, women, and other marginalized groups shrewdly manipulated mainstream culture and not only wrote but published themselves into being during the early national period. The book will be an invaluable resource for scholars interested in class, gender, identity, race, and print culture.(Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola author of The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature)
Weyler gives a fascinating account of non-elites’ strategies―primarily collaborative writing and sponsorship by patrons and editors―to get their texts published during the radical expansion of American print culture from 1760 to 1815. (Philipp Schweighauser American Studies)
About the Author
KAREN A. WEYLER is an associate professor of American literature in the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is the author of Intricate Relations: Sexual and Economic Desire in American Fiction, 1789-1814.
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