Susan Warner’s American novel, The Wide, Wide World, published in the same two-year period as Moby-Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and The Scarlet Letter, was a transatlantic success, selling more than 225,000 copies by 1860. By 1950, publishers had produced more than 100 editions of the novel for a variety of audiences. Yet, The Wide, Wide World, regardless of its iconic position in American literary history, has all but disappeared from our contemporary lexicon. This digital edition of The Wide, Wide World brings together textual and visual variants from Warner’s manuscript, five translations, and variant editions. The Wide, Wide World’s versions reveal not just the history of the text, but also the shift in literary respectability away from domestic novels like Warner’s and toward a fictionalized concept of the American renaissance that has been a subject essential to conversations about canonicity and American literature. Visitors can browse among the editions by publisher name or chronologically, visit the galleries showcasing the novel's many cover designs and illustrations, or learn about Susan Warner and the novel's publication history through the digital exhibits pages.
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