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Reaping Something NewAfrican American Transformations of Victorian Literature$
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Daniel Hack

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196930

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196930.001.0001

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Cultural Transmission and Transgression: Pauline Hopkins

Cultural Transmission and Transgression: Pauline Hopkins

(p.135) Chapter Five Cultural Transmission and Transgression: Pauline Hopkins
Reaping Something New

Daniel Hack

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores a recurrent feature of Pauline Hopkins's compositional practice—the unacknowledged borrowing from other texts, which is at times verbatim or with minimal reworking, at other times containing more extensive reimagining. Here, the chapter focuses on the geopolitics of this practice than in its morality—or more precisely, in how this practice enters into the geopolitics of Hopkins's work, and in particular into her attitude toward Britain and her relations with Victorian literature. From this perspective, as significant as the anglophilia that informs Hopkins's use of Mary Hartwell Catherwood's The White Islander is the fact that this novel itself is not British: Catherwood was an American writer who spent her life in the Midwest, and The White Islander was published in New York. As this suggests, the archive from which Hopkins draws is not itself exclusively or particularly British. The chapter also shows, however, the Britishness of certain texts, as well as their depiction of Englishness or Britishness, can play a significant role in their selection and treatment by Hopkins.

Keywords:   Pauline Hopkins, anglophilia, Britishness, Englishness, cultural transmission, geopolitics

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