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June 1, 2018
9781421425481
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v2.1 Reference
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June 1, 2018
9781421425498
9781421425481
English
272
106494
6
3
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$44.95 USD, £33.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Writing to the World

Letters and the Origins of Modern Print Genres

In Writing to the World, Rachael Scarborough King examines the shift from manuscript to print media culture in the long eighteenth century. She introduces the concept of the "bridge genre," which enables such change by transferring existing textual conventions to emerging modes of composition and circulation. She draws on this concept to reveal how four crucial genres that emerged during this time—the newspaper, the periodical, the novel, and the biography—were united by their reliance on letters to accustom readers to these new forms of print media.

King explains that as newspapers, scientific journals, book reviews, and other new genres began to circulate widely, much of their form and content was borrowed from letters, allowing for easier access to these unfamiliar modes of printing and reading texts. Arguing that bridge genres encouraged people to see themselves as connected by networks of communication—as members of what they called "the world" of writing—King combines techniques of genre theory with archival research and literary interpretation, analyzing canonical works such as Addison and Steele’s Spectator, Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey alongside anonymous periodicals and the letters of middle-class housewives.

This original and groundbreaking work in media and literary history offers a model for the process of genre formation. Ultimately, Writing to the World is a sophisticated look at the intersection of print and the public sphere.

About the Author

Rachael Scarborough King is an assistant professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Endorsementss

"Writing to the World presents its genuinely original argument in remarkably clean, engaging prose. I enjoyed it immensely."

- Manushag N. Powell, Purdue University, author of Performing Authorship in Eighteenth-Century English Periodicals

"Writing to the World will march to the head of a line of monographs on the importance of the letter as form and mode. But this is a book about more than epistolarity. King cuts incisively into a variety of eighteenth-century materials (newspapers, novels, and biography) and makes smart contributions to book history and media studies."

- Brad Pasanek, University of Virginia, author of Metaphors of Mind: An Eighteenth-Century Dictionary

"Rachael Scarborough King is a superb guide to the complex interplay between script and print media in the long eighteenth century and a subtle analyst of the consequences for authors and genres. This erudite, sophisticated, beautifully written book is a major achievement."

- Thomas Keymer, University of Toronto, author of Sterne, the Moderns, and the Novel

"King’s pitch for the indebtedness of the genres we know well—the novel, the biography, the magazine piece—to letter writing is stylish and convincing. But the real originality of Writing to the World is that it challenges us to think of new literary forms as things begotten, not just of old literary forms, but of material conditions of communication. This timely way of thinking applies well beyond the eighteenth century."

- Christina Lupton, University of Warwick, author of Knowing Books: The Consciousness of Mediation in Eighteenth-Century Britain

"Writing to the World is a breathtakingly enlightening account of the letter's centrality to the eighteenth century's evolving print landscape. King’s ingenious bridging of the fields of book history, literature, and periodical studies irreversibly remaps our understanding of the old new media and its legacies for the digital age."

- Jennie Batchelor, University of Kent, author of Women's Work: Labour, Gender, Authorship, 1750–1830

"Writing to the World offers a timely investigation into the ways in which shifts in media technology result in the creation of new genres. King’s perceptive exploration of letters, acting as the bridge between handwriting and print in the eighteenth century, also illuminates issues confronting contemporary navigation of the digital literary landscape."

- Margaret J. M. Ezell, Texas A&M University, author of Social Authorship and the Advent of Print

Reviewss

"Thoughtful and engaging... valuable for not only for students and scholars of the eighteenth-century British literature but media studies more broadly."

- Adam Sills, Hofstra University - Modern Philology

"Excellent... King's work here has further implications than simply attention to scribal antecedents: in her hands, these developments become a series of case studies in the history of media and technology."

- Emily C. Friedman, Auburn University - Review of English Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9781421425481 : writing-to-the-world-king
Hardback
272 Pages
$44.95 USD
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272 Pages
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