Chapter 12. The Early Republic: Forms and Readers

  1. Paul Lauter president
  1. Trish Loughran Associate Professor

Published Online: 16 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch12

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

A Companion to American Literature and Culture

How to Cite

Loughran, T. (2010) The Early Republic: Forms and Readers, in A Companion to American Literature and Culture (ed P. Lauter), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444320626.ch12

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College (Hartford), UK

Author Information

  1. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 26 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631208921

Online ISBN: 9781444320626



  • The early Republic - forms and readers;
  • from literary canon to actually existing archive;
  • from Nina Baym's Woman's Fiction to Jane Tompkins's Sensational Designs - to first editions of the Heath Anthology;
  • Susanna Rowson's Charlotte - A Tale of Truth, claimed as an American classic;
  • “The Colonies” section, organized regionally, with Benjamin Franklin serving as the link forward to “The Republic”;
  • The Evans Bibliography of Early American Imprints - everything printed in America from 1639 to 1800;
  • The Federalist' “unmeaning sentences” and “long-winded disquisitions,” bemoaning the reader's “fatigue”;
  • theories of cultural access, Charles Wilson Peale's famous self-portrait, The Artist in His Museum - Rip Van Winkle of American painting;
  • American arts and art institutions - undergoing a distinct historical process;
  • revolutionary pamphlet, post-revolutionary novel and proto-liberal republic


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • 1. From Literary Canon to Actually Existing Archive

  • 2. Theories of Cultural Access

  • 3. Fables of Consumption: The Revolutionary Pamphlet, the Post-Revolutionary Novel, and the Proto-Liberal Republic

  • 4. The Post-National Republic

  • References and Further Reading