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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.66, No.1, 169 ~ 188, 2020
American Reprinting, American Nationalism and British Women Writers: Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1850-1899
Daun Jung
This essay investigates the construction of British female authorship within Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in the latter half of the nineteenth- century in relation to American reprinting and American nationalism. By transplanting British authors and their realist works into American literary context, Harper’s tried to “Americanize” British literature, especially through its editorial control and rearrangement of British texts. In its effort to become a major “family literary magazine” targeting middle-class readership, Harper’s mobilized the presences of major British women writers in a distinctive way. Thus, the magazine constantly touted the literary reputation of Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth Barrett Browning as a way to support its nationalistic project. Their names assumed high visibility within the magazine, and their realist authorship participated in the elevation of an American literary taste by providing American readers with sound forms of writing. In other words, these British women writers played an important role in constructing healthy readership for the magazine. This essay aims to make visible the magazine’s close links with these British women writers, first, by exploring its signing policy for their works and, second, by analyzing its editorial reviews on these women writers. The magazine allowed several works by popular British women writers to be signed with their real names both at the volume index and in the main text, unlike other articles. It also made positive editorial commentaries on their works and personal characters.
Key Words
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, British female authorship, American reprinting, American nationalism, British realism
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