Adam Miller has prepared this full-text PDF reproduction of George Cragin's The Advocate of Moral Reform. This is volume 5, number 9, dated May 1, 1839, and it's eight pages long. As Adam writes in his one-page postscript, the Advocate was the mouthpiece of the New York Female Moral Reform Society from 1835 to 1845. It continued the notorious McDowall's Journal, which began in 1833 and met a quick end when its proprietor, the Rev. John Robert McDowall, was engulfed in a variety of scandals.
Unlike the other editions, this one reproduces the look and layout of the original. And I did none of the PDF production; Adam Miller made this all by himself.
Prairie Lights is a great bookstore in the center of Iowa City, the home of The University of Iowa and its various MFA programs in writing. The bookstore's "Live from Prairie Lights" series features writers who are visiting or working on campus. The shows are broadcast on WSUI, AM 910, and they are now archived on this NPR station's website. There are hundreds more hour-long readings from current authors archived. I'd rank Prairie Lights bookstore and the "Live from Prairie Lights" radio broadcast as two of the very best things about living in Iowa City.
Emily Dickinson collected finished poems in small, handmade manuscript booklets. We call these groupings her "fascicles." The fascicles are reproduced in Franklin's Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson (Cambridge: Belknap, 1981).
This two-volume set is too scarce and expensive for classroom use. Franklin's reading edition - your assigned textbook - includes all the poems from the fascicles. But it does not present the poems in the order in which they appeared in the fascicles. Instead the reading edition presents (and numbers) the poems in the order in which Franklin believes they were composed.
Some of the fascicles collect poems from varying periods. And some of the fascicles appear to have been written "inside out": Franklin's numbering suggests that Dickinson wrote the poems in the center of the fascicle before she wrote the poems at the beginning and end. So the reading edition does not present the poems in the groupings arranged by the author.
We will recreate the experience of reading Dickinson's early poetry in its fascicle context. The University of Akron owns a copy of Franklin's Manuscript Books. With the first-line index in the reading edition, I translated the older Johnson numbers of the Manuscript Books into the newer Franklin numbers of your reading edition.
We'll read three complete fascicles. Our reading schedule recreates the fascicles by listing the poems in fascicle order. Poem number 244, for example, is the first poem of fascicle 10. And poem 253 is the last poem.
"Moral Reform" was an antebellum movement that consisted of societies, mainly female, devoted to (a) curbing the violent sexual passions and (b) generally reducing the amount of extramarital sex in America. The movement might be understood as a part of the broader temperance movement; the moral reform movement, as represented here, at least, also sought the restraint of passion and the cultivation of reason and religious feeling. As you will see if you "continue reading," Kathlene Verib copied the entire contents of a single issue of The Advocate of Moral Reform. This number features the following catalog of vice and crime: slovenly dress, premarital sex, sex with prostitutes, the premature sexualization of children, adultery, attempted rape, and the neglect of one's duty to promote and support Female Moral Reform societies.
Here is Kathlene Verib's edition of this number, with a brief introduction and a bibliography, in both PDF and (for searching purposes) plain ASCII format. Enjoy.
Click on the thumbnail to enlarge. This image file is in the public domain. I
created it with a scanner and an out-of-copyright book that I own. Use it as you please. Source of the original
image: James Parton, Horace Greeley, T.W. Higginson, et al., Eminent Women of the Age; Being Narratives of The Lives and Deeds of The Most Prominent Women of the Present Generation (Hartford: S.M. Betts, 1869) 84.
A reading by Lindsay Kennedy for Early American Literature
(Spring 2006). This is number 7 in the series. This post contains the
full text of this edition, which is also available in an elegant
In this twice-listed graduate/undergraduate seminar, most classes featured one or two students leading discussion by reading or otherwise presenting one of their many "perspicuity papers." We placed two desks, at the front of the room, with myself at one and the student or two at the other. The desks faced tablet chairs arranged in a circle. This seating arrangement, with students informally presenting short papers daily, helped generate a lot of good, easy class discussion.