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Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace

Writers and Mentors in Nineteenth-Century America

248 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

ebook available

Literary Studies

  Hardcover / 9780807138472 / January 2012

In Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace, David Dowling examines an often-overlooked aspect of the history of publishing—relationships, of both a business and a personal nature. The book focuses on several intriguing duos of the nineteenth century and explores the economics of literary partnerships between author/publisher, student/mentor, husband/wife, and parent/child.

These literary companions range from Emerson’s promotion of Thoreau—a relationship fraught with pitfalls and misjudgments—to “Davis, Inc.,” the seamless joining of the literary and legal minds of Rebecca Harding Davis and her husband, L. Clarke Davis.
Dowling also considers and analyzes the teams of Washington Irving and his publisher, John Murray; Herman Melville and his editor, Evert Duyckinck; E. D. E. N. Southworth and Robert Bonner, the publisher who serialized her sentimental novels; Fanny Fern both with her brother/publisher, Nathaniel Parker Willis, and with Robert Bonner, the latter a more successful pairing; and the famous fraternal relationship between Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.
Throughout, Dowling demonstrates the intrinsic irony of authors projecting their labors of the mind as autonomous even as they relied heavily on their “literary partners” to aid them in navigating the business side of writing.
DAVID DOWLING is a lecturer at the University of Iowa and author of Capital Letters: Authorship in the Antebellum Literary Market.

Praise for Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace

“Dowling successfully traces the evolution of the author-mentor relationship, whereas simultaneously complicating our vision of personal and business connections.”—Journal of American Culture

“David Dowling’s Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace offers a fresh and illuminating perspective on a topic of ongoing interest: the different forms professional authorship took in the U.S. In providing careful, nuanced, and archivally-informed studies of six important American authors of the long nineteenth century, Dowling demonstrates the fundamentally social nature of what might otherwise be seen as economically-driven literary partnerships. Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace will itself be a supportive partner to scholars and students of print culture and American literary history.”—Hester Blum, author of The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives

“With this erudite, eloquent, and thoroughly compelling study, David Dowling cements his reputation as one of the leading scholars of American authorship as a social practice. By focusing on the affective, creative, and economic implications of literary partnerships, Dowling lays to rest once and for all the myth of the author as solitary genius. His wide range of examples and imaginative use of theoretical models ensures that we will never look at the literary landscape of nineteenth-century America quite the same way again.”—Leon Jackson, author of The Business of Letters: Authorial Economies in Antebellum America

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