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Grant number: FT-259578-18

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FT-259578-18

Sarah E. Gardner
Mercer University (Macon, GA 31207-0001)

Reading During the American Civil War, 1861–1865

Research and writing of a book on reading practices and literary interpretation during the American Civil War, 1861-1865.

This project examines the reading habits, practices, and choices of various interpretive communities during the American Civil War. It demonstrates that wartime readers did not merely respond to the circumstances of the war, occupation, and Union victory. Rather, reading--how and what they read, the meanings they ascribed to what they had read, and the conditions that influenced their reading--shaped their understanding of the world around them. The war's unprecedented carnage, its contingencies, and its destruction shattered romantic modes of understanding. If America's bloodiest conflict profoundly transformed American literary culture, then it surely changed how readers encountered the printed word. Wartime readers were active participants in the process of coming to terms with the nation's defining event. Ultimately, then, this project explores the relationship between lived experiences and the intellectual and imaginative lives of wartime readers.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Intellectual History; U.S. History

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 7/31/2018