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Friday, November 8, 2013

Empowering Words: Outsiders and Authorship in Early America

Karen A. Weyler, Associate Professor of American Literature in the English Department, recently published, Empowering Words: Outsiders & Authorship in Early America.  In her book, Dr. Weyler "explores how outsiders used ephemeral formats such as broadsides, pamphlets, and newspapers to publish poetry, captivity narratives, formal addresses, and other genres with wide appeal in early America" (University of Georgia Press)

Marginalized and repressed populations from this time period understood the social power and influence of the written word and sought outlets for self expression as a means of communication and connection.  "To gain access to print, outsiders collaborated with amanuenses and editors, inserted their stories into popular genres and cheap media, tapped into existing social and religious networks, and sought sponsors and patrons" (University of Georgia Press).  "Empowering Words compels us to expand our definitions of agency, authorship, literacy, and literature to encompass the unlikely men and women who populated the world of print in early America" (Vincent Carretta, author of Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage).

"Using an innovative and persuasive approach, as well as much new material, Empowering Words reveals that slaves, women, and other marginalized groups shrewdly manipulated mainstream culture and not only wrote but published themselves into being during the early national period. The book will be an invaluable resource for scholars interested in class, gender, identity, race, and print culture."—Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, author of The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature 

Click here to see Jackson Library's catalog record of the book.  The library has both a print edition as well as an ebook available!

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