Romance to Novel in Early America


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Romance to Novel in Early America” argues that the US novel as it develops from 1789-1889 cannot be understood apart from US-Cuban-Haitian exchange. Of particular concern for the region are Atlantic trade, slavery, and piracy—all of which influence the plot, themes, and formal features of the novel. The longstanding influence of Ian Watt’s “Rise of the Novel” situating its emergence in eighteenth-century England has had the inadvertent result of rendering all novels outside the British Isles ancillary or with discrete, marginal histories of their own. In re-framing the history of the novel within the Americas, a different archive and trajectory emerges. This study accounts for New-World novels by tracing their movements across hemispheric routes and against hemispheric histories.