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commonplace-medium.gifI’m taking the liberty of writing today about the special issue of the online journal Common-Place that Bryan has just edited with Joanna Brooks and Eric Slauter. Common-Place, which describes itself as “the Interactive Journal of Early American
Life,” is co-sponsored by the American Antiquarian Society and the University of Oklahoma.

Bryan has a piece called “Who Reads an Early American Book?” His answer: “More people than you might think.” The piece examines “the history of one curious early American text: the epitaph on the
headstone of a Revolutionary-era poet named Elizabeth Whitman, the
prototype for the heroine of one of the new nation’s bestselling
novels, Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette (1797).”

Other pieces that might be of interest to readers of this blog include Edward Cahill‘s reading of Irving’s Sketch Book in the light of the Panic of 1819; Max Cavitch‘s account of the publishing of early American texts “from codex to Kindle”; and Lisa Gordis‘s meditation on why readers are drawn to certain early American texts. Gordis’s piece includes a discussion of the stone marked “Charlotte Temple” in the graveyard of Trinity Church, which became something of a tourist attraction for reader’s of Susanna Rowson’s popular novel of the same name.

In fact, the entire issue is a pleasure to read, and it’s aimed at a more general readership than the standard academic journal.