Katie McGettigan
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‘Across the waters of this disputed ocean’
The material production of American literature in nineteenth-century Britain
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This chapter provides a starting point from which to rethink cultural relations between America and Britain in the nineteenth century and to reconsider how national literatures materialise. It does this by repositioning the 'Standard Novels' as a transatlantic publishing venture. Transatlantic approaches to nineteenth-century literature have conceptualised British and American literary traditions as intertwined with and mirroring one another, rather than forming in opposition. Throughout the nineteenth century, fewer American books were imported into Britain than British books into America. John Miller published British editions of American books: for example, he received advanced sheets of James Fenimore Cooper's The Pilot in 1824, in return for splitting half the profits with Cooper. In his preface to the 1849 edition, Cooper claimed that he was inspired to write the novel after discussing Walter Scott's The Pirate and concluding that he might 'present truer pictures of the ocean'.

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Interventions

Rethinking the nineteenth century

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