Scotland Reads an American Book: The International Circulation of Violence, Nation, and Race During the Nineteenth Century
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Travel abroad in the early nineteenth century, especially to the British Isles, not only shaped North American writers’ worldviews, it also provided many writers with the opportunity to procure additional publishers for their works which, in turn, disseminated these writers’ views across the British Isles. Much scholarship devoted to influences on nineteenth-century literature tends to conflate the British Isles into one coherent nation. This study, however, focuses on Scotland as a distinct region within the British Isles. The works of eighteenth-century Scottish economists, historians, mathematicians, and philosophers gave birth to what became known as the Scottish Enlightenment, a movement that shaped both the British Isles and North America. One of the most influential ideas to emerge from the Scottish Enlightenment was stadial theory, the idea that humans come to being in a rudimentary or savage state and progress over time into civilized people who engage in economies of trade. Stadial theory informed nineteenth-century political and economic policies, which attempted to justify both the enslavement of people of color and the sustained campaigns of removing indigenous people from lands in North America. This study examines works by North American writers who traveled to Scotland during the nineteenth century, wrote about their experiences both home and abroad, and expanded their reading audience by securing publishers outside of the United States. In their own ways, they examined what it meant, in the nineteenth century, to be considered savage or civilized, and the role violence and race played in the (re)formation of nations and narratives.
Jesse Ewing Glasgow
Utzinger, Jeffrey Charles (2019). Scotland Reads an American Book: The International Circulation of Violence, Nation, and Race During the Nineteenth Century. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from