By tracing the rise of a national intellectual elite to the conditions presented by the American Revolution, to the nature of eighteenth-century educational institutions, and the reading that was available in those institutions, Ostrander shows how and why literary elites were constituted, and what their relationship was to the power structures of that world. He also examines the attempts of these elites to form institutions patterned after European models at the same time forge new institutions characteristic of their new nation. Republic of Letters is a sweeping account of this literary class in the United States, the serious writers and readers from Independence to the Civil War.
Gilman Marston Ostrander was author of over a dozen books on American intellectual and cultural history including A Concise History of the United States; Early Colonial Thought; The Rights of Man in America, 1606-1861; American Civilization in the First Machine Age, 1890-1940; The Prohibition Movement in California, 1848-1933, and Nevada: The Great Rotten Borough, 1859-1964. After earning his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley in 1952, Ostrander embarked on a teaching career that spanned some thirty-five years, including stints at Reed College, Ohio State University, the University of Missouri, Michigan State University, and the University of Waterloo in Canada. At the University of Waterloo, where he was professor of history from 1971 until his death, he helped found the bilingual journal Historical Reflections/ Reflections Historiques.
Chapter 1 The Collegiate Aristocracy Chapter 2 The Philadelphia Enlightenment Chapter 3 Republic of Belles Lettres Chapter 4 Knickerbocker New York Chapter 5 Brahmin Boston Chapter 6 Literati in Democratic-Whig America Chapter 7 The South in the Literary Republic Chapter 8 Bostonization of the Literary Republic Chapter 9 Epilogue: The Academy of Arts and Letters, 1904-1909 Chapter 10 Notes Chapter 11 Index
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