Nineteenth-century American PoetryUser Collection Public
The research papers posted on this site showcase the wide-ranging archival work undertaken by a group of Northwestern University junior and senior English majors during winter quarter 2018. Their mission: recover a work of poetry published in the nineteenth-century United States from the library's open stacks or from Special Collections, and make every aspect of it the object of intensive study—from the paper to the binding to the cover to the illustrations to the book design to the publisher to the author to the book’s circulation and reception, and including all of the words and poems inside it. Each paper thus exhibits what can be learned by attending not simply to the poems themselves, but also to the poetic forms and the book forms in which these poems originally circulated. Bringing together cultural studies, studies in the history-of-the-book, American studies, literary studies—and in one case, x-ray fluorescence (XRF) testing to determine the properties of paper and ink—each of these papers pursues unique questions and reaches unique conclusions that, taken together, provide a window for thinking about the cultural work of poetry in the nineteenth-century United States.