Worlding America: A Transnational Anthology of Short Narratives before 1800

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Worlding America explores the circulation of short narratives in the early Americas through a combination of neglected primary materials and scholarly commentary. Building on recent reconsiderations of American literature in light of transnational and hemispheric approaches, it follows the migration of stories from various backgrounds and demonstrates how forms and themes developed in a new literary market that spanned the Atlantic world. While short narratives prior to 1800 have been largely excluded from critical discussions as well as anthologies, they give insight into the conditions of publishing and writing as well as the demand for brief, entertaining pieces that was met by a wide variety of sources, including sermons, letters, diaries, travelogues, and, eventually, magazines and newspapers. Breaking with traditional concepts of period, authorship, and genre, Worlding America groups the different types of narratives it anthologizes according to key subject areas such as Life Writing, Female Agency, or the Cultures of Print. Each section is introduced by a headnote that explains relevant historical and literary developments, situating each narrative in its cultural context and providing its publication history. Suggestions for further reading will also be appreciated by scholars and students wishing to pursue research in these underrepresented forms.