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Transatlantic Terror: James Hammond’s Circulating Library and the Minerva Press Gothic Novel

Daffron, Eric 2020. Transatlantic Terror: James Hammond’s Circulating Library and the Minerva Press Gothic Novel. Romantic Textualities (23) , pp. 109-123. 10.18573/romtext.75

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Abstract

This essay examines the cataloguing practices of James Hammond, the proprietor of a large nineteenth-century New England circulating library, and the marginalia in his collection of sixty-five Minerva Press gothic novels, which were later acquired by the New York Society Library in New York City. Hammond’s catalogues, four of which are examined here, arranged and altered Minerva titles and authors and appended reviews. These promotional strategies foregrounded the gothic content of these novels and attested to their quality. In so doing, the catalogues assisted subscribers in selecting books and prepared them for reading those selections. If Hammond’s catalogs prepared patrons for quality gothic reading experiences, the novels’ marginalia reshaped patrons’ expectations and influenced their engagement with the novels. Written by other subscribers or earlier readers, these marginalia evaluated the novels and commented on their gothic and non-gothic elements. In the process, the marginalia sometimes supported, and at other times conflicted with, Hammond’s promotional strategies. For Hammond’s patrons, the catalogues and the marginalia constituted two points of entry into the Minerva gothic novel. Only by examining both the catalogues and the marginalia can scholars assess the degree to which Minerva’s gothic novels terrified and delighted New England readers decades after the press’s London heyday.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
Publisher: Cardiff University Press
ISSN: 1748-0116
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 November 2020
Date of Acceptance: 22 January 2019
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2020 13:52
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/136390

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