Front cover image for Slavery and the making of early American libraries : British literature, political thought, and the transatlantic book trade, 1731-1814

Slavery and the making of early American libraries : British literature, political thought, and the transatlantic book trade, 1731-1814

Sean D. Moore (Author)
"Early American libraries stood at the nexus of two transatlantic branches of commerce--the book trade and the slave trade. Slavery and the Making of Early American Libraries bridges the study of these trades by demonstrating how Americans' profits from slavery were reinvested in imported British books and providing evidence that the colonial book market was shaped, in part, by the demand of slave owners for metropolitan cultural capital. Drawing on recent scholarship that shows how participation in London cultural life was very expensive in the eighteenth century, as well as evidence that enslavers were therefore some of the few early Americans who could afford to import British cultural products, this book merges the fields of the history of the book, Atlantic studies, and the study of race, arguing that the empire-wide circulation of British books was underwritten by the labour of the African diaspora. This volume is the first in early American and eighteenth-century British studies to fuse our growing understanding of the material culture of the transatlantic text with our awareness of slavery as an economic and philanthropic basis for the production and consumption of knowledge. In studying the American dissemination of works of British literature and political thought, the book claims that Americans were seeking out the forms of citizenship, constitutional traditions, and rights that were the signature of that British identity. Even though they were purchasing the sovereignty of Anglo-Americans at the expense of African-Americans through these books, however, some colonials were also making the case for the abolition of slavery"--Jacket
Print Book, English, 2019
First edition View all formats and editions
Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2019
xxvi, 256 pages : illustrations, portraits, facsimiles ; 24 cm
9780198836377, 0198836376
PrefaceIntroduction1: Buying Oroonoko in Salem: Sentimentality, Spectacle, and the Salem Social Library2: 'Whatever is, is Right': The Redwood Library and the Reception of Pope's Poetry in Colonial Rhode Island3: They Were Prodigals and Enslavers: Patriarchy and the Reading of Robinson Crusoe at the New York Society Library4: Slaves as Securitized Assets: Chrsyal, or, The Adventures of a Guinea, Paper Money, and the Charleston Library Society5: 'See Benezet's Account of Africa Throughout': The Genres of Equiano's Interesting Narrative and the Library Company of PhiladelphiaConclusionBibliography