Expanding our understanding of what it meant to be a nineteenth-century author, Amanda Adams takes up the concept of performative, embodied authorship in relationship to the transatlantic lecture tour. Adams argues that these tours were a central aspect of nineteenth-century authorship, at a time when authors were becoming celebrities and celebrities were international. Spanning the years from 1834 to 1904, Adams’s book examines the British lecture tours of American authors such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain, and the American lecture tours of British writers that include Harriet Martineau, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and Matthew Arnold. Adams concludes her study with a discussion of Henry James, whose American lecture tour took place after a decades-long absence. In highlighting the wide range of authors who participated in this phenomenon, Adams makes a case for the lecture tour as a microcosm for nineteenth-century authorship in all its contradictions and complexity.
Amanda Adams is Assistant Professor of English at Muskingum University, USA. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century transatlantic culture, gender, and embodiment.
’Each chapter of Amanda Adams’s engaging book tells an interesting story about the emergence of literary celebrity in the second half of the nineteenth century and about the ways in which public performance represented an attempt to control textual reputations.’ Andrew Taylor, University of Edinburgh, UK