Lecturing the Atlantic: Speech, Print, and an Anglo-American Commons 1830-1870
In the early nineteenth century, the public lecture emerged as one of the Anglo-American world's most important cultural forms. On both sides of the Atlantic, audiences and performers transformed a cultural practice with origins in the medieval cloister into an unexpected flashpoint medium of public life. In the United States, as part of the "lyceum movement," lecturing became crucial to literary and political life, multiple social reform movements, and the rise of public intellectualism, offering speakers from across the cultural spectrum a platform from which to promote their ideas and explain contemporary life. Lecturing the Atlantic argues for a new interpretation of this neglected institution. It reorients our understanding of the lyceum by seeing it as an international and cross-media phenomenon patterned by cultural investment in an "Anglo-American commons." Tom F. Wright shows how some of the mid-century North Atlantic world's most enduring cultural figures, such as Frederick Douglass, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as fascinating marginal voices such as Lola Montez and John B. Gough, used lecture hall discussions of a transatlantic imaginary to offer powerful commentaries on slavery, progress, comedy, order, tradition, and reform. Crucially, this world was a matter as much of print as performance, since as the book reveals, a remarkable culture of newspaper commentary allowed oratory to resonate far beyond the realm of the lecture hall. Through a series of inventive readings of Anglo-American relations as understood through performance and print re-mediation, Wright connects the transatlantic turn in cultural studies to important recent debates in media theory and public sphere scholarship. Lecturing the Atlantic speaks to those interested in the literature and history of Victorian Britain and the early US, to students of performance, communication and rhetoric, and all those seeking a deeper understanding of nineteenth-century public culture.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
1 The American Lecture Hall and an AngloAmerican Commons
Frederick Douglasss Transatlantic Rhetoric
Listening to Ralph Waldo Emersons England
Horace Mann Horace Greeley and the Choreography of Reform
William Makepeace Thackeray as Cultural Commons
Other editions - View all
abolition abolitionists American Anglo-American commons Anglophilia Anon antebellum Anti-Slavery argued Atlantic audience Boston Daily Britain British Brooklyn Brooklyn Eagle Cambridge career Carlyle celebrity civic Clinton Hall Crystal Palace December democratic discourse discussion Education England English figure Frederick Douglass George George William Curtis Gough Greeley’s Harper’s Monthly Horace Greeley Humorists ideas institutions intellectual Irish January John Journal lecture circuit lecture culture lecture hall listeners literary Lola Montez London lyceum lyceum movement Mann Mercantile Library midcentury moral nineteenth-century November observed offered oral orator oratory Oxford paper performance piece platform political popular lecture public sphere quoted racial Ralph Waldo Emerson reform reports republic response rhetoric role Slavery social society speak speaker speech style symbol Thackeray Thackeray’s Lectures theatrical themes Thomas Carlyle tion topics tour transatlantic ture University Press urban vocal voice Whig William William Makepeace Thackeray York Herald York Tribune