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Beyond 1776

Globalizing the Cultures of the American Revolution
Edited by Maria O'Malley and Denys Van Renen

BUY Cloth · 272 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813941752 · $45.00 · Dec 2018
BUY Ebook · 272 pp. · ISBN 9780813941769 · $45.00 · Dec 2018

In Beyond 1776, ten humanities scholars consider the American Revolution within a global framework. The foundation of the United States was deeply enmeshed with shifting alliances and multiple actors, with politics saturated by imaginative literature, and with ostensible bilateral negotiations that were, in fact, shaped by speculation about realignments in geopolitical power. To reanimate these intricate and often indirect connections, this volume uncovers the influences of people across disparate sites both during and after independence.

The book centers first on the migration of ideas across the Atlantic, particularly among intellectuals and through print. In this section, scholars focus on how various European countries or cliques appropriate the Revolution to reanimate an array of national, local, or cosmopolitan affiliations. The essays in the second section articulate how revolutions fostered surprising exchanges in, for example the West Indies and in the first penal colonies of Australia, along the Celtic fringe and Pacific Rim, and in the vast territories through which goods circulated. Taken as a whole, this collection answers the persistent calls from scholars to move beyond the boundaries defined by the nation-state or periodization to rethink narratives of U.S. foundations. The contributors examine a range of texts, from novels and drama to diplomatic correspondence, letters of common sailors, political treatises, newspapers, accounting ledgers, naval records, and burial rituals (many from non-Anglophone sources).

Beyond 1776 will appeal to scholars seeking to understand contact and exchange in the late eighteenth century. It indexes how different intellectuals in the period deployed the Revolution as a point of connection; follows the dispersal of print books, guns, slaves, and memorabilia; and evaluates literary responses to the new republic. The book puts in conversation scholars of literature, theater, history, modern languages, American studies, political science, transatlanticism, cultural studies, women’s studies, postcolonialism, and geography.

Contributors: Jeng-Guo Chen, Academia Sinica, Taiwan * Matthew Dziennik, United States Naval Academy * Miranda Green-Barteet, University of Western Ontario * Carine Lounissi, Université de Rouen-Normandie * Therese-Marie Meyer, Martin-Luther-University of Halle- Wittenberg * Maria O’Malley, University of Nebraska, Kearney * Denys Van Renen, University of Nebraska, Kearney * Ed Simon, Bentley University * Wyger Velema, University of Amsterdam * Leonard von Morzé, University of Massachusetts, Boston


Beyond 1776 does an admirable job of situating the American Revolution globally, an approach that complements efforts over the past two decades to move beyond nationalist paradigms for understanding the late eighteenth century and particularly the emergence of the United States. I know of no other collection of essays that does what this collection does; moreover, no single-authored study could achieve what this collection does because of the range of disciplinary and area expertise it brings together.

Tamara Harvey, George Mason University, author of Figuring Modesty in Feminist Discourse across the Americas, 1633-1700

This is a timely anthology of wide-ranging, theoretically informed scholarship that reads the American Revolution across traditional disciplinary and geographical boundaries. Collectively, these essays not only reveal unknown actors and networks playing a vital role in the "American" Revolution, but also re-situate traditional events and conflicts in transnational, indeed, global contexts. It will serve historians and literary scholars quite well and advance the field's ongoing interrogations of national politics and culture.

Philip Gould, Brown University, author of Writing the Rebellion: Loyalists and the Literature of Politics in British America

[The] tension between older and newer scholarship is a testament to the strength of Beyond 1776. By reframing the significance of the creation of the United States, the authors sate our long-standing appetite to internationalize the American Revolution.

Early American Literature

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