Socioliterary Experience Among Antebellum New Englanders
Everyday Ideas: Socioliterary Experience among Antebellum New Englanders takes an unprecedented look at the use of literature in everyday life in one of history’s most literate societies-the home ground of the American Renaissance. Using information pulled from four thousand manuscript letters and diaries, Everyday Ideas provides a comprehensive picture of how the social and literary dimensions of human existence related in antebellum New England.
Penned by ordinary people-factory workers, farmers, clerks, storekeepers, domestics, and teachers and other professionals-the writings examined here brim with thoughtful references to published texts, lectures, and speeches by the period’s canonized authors and lesser lights. These personal accounts also give an insider’s perspective on issues ranging from economic problems, to social status conflicts, to being separated from loved ones by region, state, or nation. Everyday Ideas examines such references and accounts and interprets the multiple ways literature figured into the lives of these New Englanders.
An important aid in understanding historical readers and social authorship practices, Everyday Ideas is a unique resource on New England and provides a framework for understanding the profound role of ideas in the everyday world of the antebellum period.