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Grant number like: FT-52963-04

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Susan M. Ryan
University of Louisville (Louisville, KY 40292-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2004 – 7/31/2004

The Moral Economies of American Authorship, 1830-1870

This project investigates the interdependence of two phenomena in nineteenth-century America: the professionalization of authorship and the widespread interest in the moral character of individual writers. Specifically, I will test the hypothesis that, in the context of a burgeoning domestic book trade, the moral respectability of authors became a key element in the marketing of books. I hope to show that authorial character, however subject to debate within the era's print culture, served as a crucial register of judgment, one that not only influenced the sales and reception of particular texts, but that shaped the very idea of authorship.