Writing the Americas, 1480–1826

Edited by Robert Lawson-Peebles and Kristin A. Cook

Yearbook of English Studies 46

Modern Humanities Research Association

1 January 2016  •  310pp

ISBN: 978-1-781882-65-8 (paperback)

Access online: At JSTOR


The Yearbook of English Studies for 2016 is devoted to writing in English about the Americas. The volume, edited by Robert Lawson-Peebles and Kristin A. Cook, contains fifteen essays from American, British and European scholars, each one specially commissioned to research the kaleidoscope of writing in English about the Americas. The framework is transnational, comparative and interdisciplinary. The start date, 1480, is taken from the first known reference in England to lands west of Ireland. The closure date, 1826, could be said to mark the end of the revolutionary period in both North and South America. The intervening period contains some of the most interesting and exploratory writing on the American landmass.

The volume is organized into three sections. The first, ‘Western Approaches’, examines records of early encounters with the ‘New World’. It includes discussions of early maps; and essays on the myth of Madoc, on King James VI and I, on John Smith, and on Edward Taylor. The second section, ‘Writing an Atlantic Culture’, concerns the textual history of contact between the inhabitants of Europe and the Americas. This section contains examinations of Unca Eliza Winkfield’s The Female American; of the vital role played by printer-booksellers in the Atlantic world; two essays on Benjamin Franklin; and a comparison of Tyler’s The Contrast with Sheridan’s The School for Scandal. The final section, ‘A Diaspora of Literature in English’, conveys a sense of the variety and richness of writing about the Continent. One essay sheds new light on the well-known degeneration controversy; another examines novels that use the United States to reflect concerns about British society and politics. There are analyses of two novels about Canada: one which uses a ‘Convent novel’ to focus on debates between French-Catholic and English-Anglican interests; while the other discusses theories of Scottish migration, introducing a comparison with Australia. The final essay examines how British representations of Spanish America shaped an ideology that was imperial yet domestic. The essays in this collection demonstrate the complex, multifaceted and transient cross-cultural exchanges that existed between Europe and the Americas.


Robert Lawson-Peebles, Kristin A. Cook
Section I: Western Approaches: Cartographic Practices: Depicting the Mundus Novus and the New Oceanic Order
William Boelhower
Myth and Historiography: One Hundred and Sixty Years of Madog and the Madogwys
Jerry Hunter
A Conjoined Commonwealth: The Implications of the Accession of James VI and I
Robert Lawson-Peebles
Forging a Transatlantic Persona: Panegyric Verse and John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England and the Summer Isles
Susan Castillo Street
From Rattlesnake Eggs to Alexander the Great: Edward Taylor's Commonplace Book
Amy M. E. Morris
Section Ii: Writing An Atlantic Culture: the Indian Slave Trade in Unca Eliza Winkfield's the Female American
Anna Brickhouse
Enlightenment and the Transatlantic Text Trade
Eve Tavor Bannet
Adaptations, Appropriations and Improvements: The First Part of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography and the Atlantic World
Alberto Lena
A Transatlantic Dialogue: Affective Considerations in Sheridan's The School for Scandal and Royall Tyler's The Contrast
Kristin A. Cook
Print Journalism and Benjamin Franklin's Scientific Politics
Carla J. Mulford
Section Iii: A Diaspora of Literature in English: Reading For Information in St. Ursula's Convent, Or the Nun of Canada
Jennifer Blair
‘When wild in woods the noble savage ran’: The European Discourse of American Utopianism, 1748–1783
Wil Verhoeven
No Place like Home: The Uses of America in 1790s British Fiction
Joseph F. Bartolomeo
Canada, Class, and Colonization in John Galt's Bogle Corbet
Robert P. Irvine
Domesticating the Atlantic: British Representations of Spanish America and the Shaping of British Imperial Ideology
Juan L. Sánchez

Bibliography entry:

Lawson-Peebles, Robert, and Kristin A. Cook (eds), Writing the Americas, 1480–1826 (= Yearbook of English Studies, 46.1 (2016))

First footnote reference: 35 Writing the Americas, 1480–1826, ed. by Robert Lawson-Peebles and Kristin A. Cook (= Yearbook of English Studies, 46.1 (2016)), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Lawson-Peebles and Cook, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Lawson-Peebles, Robert, and Kristin A. Cook (eds). 2016. Writing the Americas, 1480–1826 (= Yearbook of English Studies, 46.1)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Lawson-Peebles and Cook 2016: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Lawson-Peebles and Cook 2016: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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