Literary Agents in the Transatlantic Book Trade: American Fiction, French Rights, and the Hoffman Agency, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Literary Agents in the Transatlantic Book Trade

American Fiction, French Rights, and the Hoffman Agency, 1st Edition

By Cécile Cottenet


204 pages

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Hardback: 9781138678590
pub: 2017-03-17
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pub: 2017-04-07
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By way of a case study of one of the oldest French book agencies, Agence Hoffman, this book analyzes the role played by French literary agents in the importation of US fiction and literature into France in the years following World War II. It sheds light on the material conditions of the circulation of texts across the Atlantic between 1944 and 1955, exploring the fine mechanisms of agents’ negotiations which allowed texts, and ideas, to cross borders. While providing comparative insights into the history of publishing in France and in the United States in the immediate aftermath of the war, this book aims at foregrounding the role of the book agent, an all-too often neglected intermediary in the field of book history. Grounded in archival work conducted both in France and the United States, this study is based on previously unexamined correspondence. Considering the concept of mediation as central in the field of print culture, this book addresses the dearth of scholarship on literary agents on both sides of the Atlantic, and intersects with the current scholarship on transatlantic, internationalm and transnational cultural and trade networks, as evidenced by the recently emerged field of sociology of translation in Europe.

Table of Contents


1. Mediators in the Pre-War Transatlantic Market

2. "New Beginnings": 1944-1946

3. New Markets for the Taking: 1946-1955

4. The Complex Game of Negotiations: Mixing Business and Taste

5. Bridging the Divide: Money Makes the Books Go Around

About the Author

Cécile Cottenet is Associate Professor in American Studies at Aix-Marseille Université, France.

About the Series

Studies in Publishing History: Manuscript, Print, Digital

Studies in Publishing History: Manuscript, Print, Digital

Exploring the intersection of publishing history, book history, and literary and cultural studies, this series supports innovative work on the cultural significance and creative impact of printing and publishing history, including reception, distribution, and translation or adaptation into other media. Proposals are welcome for interdisciplinary and comparative studies by humanities scholars and librarians working in a variety of fields, including literature; book history, periodicals history, and print culture and the sociology of texts; theater, film, and performance studies; library history; history; gender studies; and cultural studies. Topics might include, among other possibilities, publishing histories of major figures or works, of regions, of genres, or studies of particular publishers or practices (including production, distribution, and reception) that hold special aesthetic, social, or political significance. We especially welcome focused argument-driven work that investigates and historicizes new or hybrid forms of text creation and dissemination, including nonprint materials, informal, specialized or private reception and distribution networks, the translation of TV and movies into print, and multimedia publishing practices.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / French
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Historical Events