Atlantic Citizens: Nineteenth-Century American Writers at Work in the World

Synopsis

By looking beyond the page and into the extraordinary lives of Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Grace Greenwood, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller and Frederick Douglass, this book uncovers their startling contributions to transatlantic culture and makes the argument that literature is dependent upon other modes of professional creativity in order to thrive. Leslie Elizabeth Eckel shows how these six figures shaped their careers in the fields of education, journalism, publiclecturing and editing in productive relation to their development as imaginative writers. To see Walt Whitman co-producing foreign editions of his work with British poets while exuberantly breaking free from verse strictures on the page, or to witness Margaret Fuller reporting from the battle ground in revolutionary Rome as well as writing her country's first feminist treatise is to comprehend more deeply the ways in which these writers acted in the transatlantic sphere. By practicing Atlantic citizenship, they were able to achieve critical distance from the United States and, paradoxically, to catalyse its ongoing growth.

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