© 2016 – Routledge
National literatures of the nineteenth century are typically studied in terms of the nationality of the author, but what people actually read in countries such as Scotland, France, America, and Canada often originated beyond national borders. Examining popular historical novels by Walter Scott, Honoré de Balzac, James Fenimore Cooper, and Philippe-Ignace-Francois Aubert de Gaspé in terms of their production for both upmarket and downmarket audiences, David Buchanan foregrounds the tension between reading matter that is valued for its supposed artistry, enduring value, and cultural impact, and those works that are dismissed as entertainment, due to format, content, price, and readership. As Buchanan underscores, a wide gulf remains between the designations "literature" and "popular literature" within the academy and elsewhere. He argues that this gulf is exacerbated by the reluctance to consider national literatures from a material and historical perspective that includes downmarket print, popular adaptations, and transnational dissemination. Tracing the varied print histories of four novels considered to be major literary works within and beyond their national contexts, Buchanan situates his own analysis of each work within a larger discussion of century-long changes in the novelistic use of historicity to describe and direct the shape and progress of the nation state.
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Conclusion: Working the Historical Novel
Focusing on the long nineteenth century (ca. 17501900), this series offers a forum for the publication of scholarly work investigating the literary, historical, artistic, and philosophical foundations of transatlantic culture. A vital field of interdisciplinary investigation, transatlantic scholarship contextualizes its objects of study in relation to exchanges, interactions, and negotiations that occurred between and among authors and other artists hailing from both sides of the Atlantic. As a result, transatlantic research calls into question established disciplinary boundaries that have long functioned to segregate various national or cultural literatures and art forms, challenging as well the traditional academic emphasis upon periodization and canonization. By examining representations dealing with such topics as travel and exploration, migration and diaspora, slavery, aboriginal culture, revolution, colonialism and anticolonial resistance, the series offers new insights into the hybrid or intercultural basis of transatlantic identity, politics, and aesthetics. Please note, this series is done commissioning and will no longer be taking submissions.