Cultures of Letters: Scenes of Reading and Writing in Nineteenth-Century America

February 1995
978-0226075266

Using a variety of historical sources, Richard H. Brodhead reconstructs the institutionalized literary worlds that coexisted in nineteenth-century America: the middle-class domestic culture of letters, the culture of mass-produced cheap reading, the militantly hierarchical high culture of post-emancipation black education. He describes how these socially structured worlds of writing shaped the terms of literary practice for writers like Stowe, Hawthorne, Fanny Fern, Louisa May Alcott, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Charles Chesnutt.