Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 8. The Publication of American Books in England

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXIX. Book Publishers and Publishing

§ 8. The Publication of American Books in England

One aspect of the book business disconcerting to the American publisher existed for some time after the Revolution, however, and that was the publication in England of books by our authors. Roughly speaking the dominant centres of publication for American books during the period from 1765 to 1783 were, in the order of their importance, Philadelphia, London, Boston, New York, Charleston, Newport, and New Haven. For several years after the war any American book published in London had acquired a noteworthy prestige at home and had materially increased its chances for sales on both sides of the Atlantic. In some few cases, in fact, where presswork offered unusual difficulties, or where, especially, illustrations were numerous and costly, it was best that the work be published abroad. Moreover, American authors first obtained really commanding international standing through books of information concerning this country, and it was but natural that such works should obtain wide circulation in Europe with its ever-pressing problem of emigration.