Genre Migration in Antebellum Popular Print Culture (Proposed MMLA Special Session--November 12, 2009-November 15, 2009)

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Timothy Helwig/Western Illinois University
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Antebellum popular print culture was notoriously fluid, as texts regularly migrated from one genre to another. For example, popular city-mysteries of the 1840s and 1850s drew upon sensational crime-reporting and were often first serialized in weekly story papers and then printed in a series of pamphlets before being compiled and sold as complete novels. This session invites papers that explore any aspect of genre migration during the rich emergence of the penny press, the black press, and the labor press in the pre-Civil War period. How does the migration of texts from one genre to the next affect their meaning and their reception? What common interests did these print sources share on questions of racial, ethnic, or class identity?

By April 15, 2009, please email 250-word abstracts to Timothy Helwig, Department of English & Journalism, Western Illinois University, at

Midwest Modern Language Association
November 12-15, 2009
St. Louis, Missouri

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