Most critics and historians consider that the emergence of a free press liberated 18th century American authors. In this study, the author seeks to overturn this view, arguing that the emergence of economic liberalism transformed American authorship into a market-oriented profession. Rice argues that the lapse of Puritan censorship, the consolidation of copyright law, and the explosion of a commercial print culture confronted writers in the United State with a striking predicament - the depoliticization and commodification of public expression. He seeks to show that the rigorous censorship practised by Puritan authorities conferred an implicit prestige on texts as civic interventions, helping to foster an indigenous tradition of sociopolitical criticism. With special attention to the sudden emergence of the novel in post-revolutionary America, Rice reveals how the emergence of economic liberalism undermined the earlier tradition of political writing by transforming American authorship from an expression of individual civic conscience to a market-oriented profession.
The text includes discussions of the writings of Benjamin Franklin, Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crevecoeur and Hugh Henry Brackenridge.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press ISBN: 9780226711249 Number of pages: 240 Weight: 330 g Dimensions: 228 x 151 x 14 mm Edition: New edition
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