Winner of the 2015 Best Book Award of Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought (for Americomania and the French Revolution Debate in Britain, 1789-1802. Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Description

“Fluent and consistently thought-provoking . . . a highly innovative attempt to relate practice and principle in respect to the American dimension of the French Revolution.” – Mark Garnett, Lancaster University, U.K., review in Global Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought 6:1 (2016): 182-91

See book review symposium in Global Discourse 6:1 (2016): 161-200:

"The strengths of this book are the care and precision with which the case is assembled and explored. At the outset Verhoeven says that the book 'has been a long time in the making' and, in the best possible way, it feels like it. There is no attempt here to smooth everything out to tell a unified story; the various eddies and complexities in the overall picture are acknowledged, but a clear and compelling picture emerges. It is clearly set out, well signposted and extremely well written. Verhoeven deftly brings historical moments to life in just a few lines. . . ."
– Jane Hodson, University of Sheffield, Global Discourse 6:1, 174-77

"One of Verhoeven’s most innovative achievements in this book is to show what happened when political idealism and geographic realism combined, as vested interests of different kinds circulated in the British press engravings of farmland showing enviable agricultural landscapes with idealised American society at work, and maps and town plans setting out the lineaments of harmonious urban centres which did not in fact yet (or ever) exist. His linkage of the American land market with the British print market is enlightening....
[A]side from his remarkable exposition of the alchemistry between political idealism and geographic realism, there is also wonderful value to be gained from Verhoeven’s close readings of the sketches, maps, political pamphlets and novels to which he draws our notice....
[H]is reconstruction of their production and publication history is also highly illuminating. The difference, for instance, between Crèvecoeur’s original Loyalist text and the republican, utopian vision of America that eventually circulated widely in Britain, is crucial....
This is a book overflowing with stimulating ideas." – Emma Macleod, University of Stirling, Global Discourse 6:1, 165-68

“[T]his book does a fine job, particularly in its last four chapters, in chronicling ways in which political and cultural meanings criss-crossed with each other at the turn of the nineteenth century. It is very good, for example, on the disagreements between Cobbett and Joseph Priestley, showing how Priestley became marginalized in America after the passing of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, and showing how as time passed the entrenched philosophical positions of the 1790s were transformed into a more complicated scenario: 'five years,' as Verhoeven notes perceptively, 'was a long time in the 1790s' (304). This book’s title is taken from a 'rabidly anti-American' pamphlet published in 1783 under the title 'A Plain Letter to the Common People of England and Wales, Giving Some Fair Warning against Transporting Themselves to America,' where the pseudonymous author laments how the current 'Americomania, like the Hydrophobia, is not easy to be cured!' (275). Such attention to obscure pamphlets highlights one of the particular strengths of this work, which is its special expertise in the material conditions of publishing history. This involves not just an eye for the arcane but also an awareness of the limitations of particular editions, a skill that turns out to be particularly useful in his discussion of Crèvecoeur. . . . In this sense, Verhoeven’s book represents an exemplary Cambridge product, blending as it does a meticulous, traditional style of textual scholarship with a more expansive intellectual range.”
– Paul Giles, University of Sydney, Global Discourse 6:1, 169-73

"The transatlantic history of the book, and in particular of the novel, is much enriched by this book, as is our understanding of what the French Revolution meant for Britain."
– David Simpson, University of California Davis, Novel: A Forum on Fiction 49:1 (2016)
Degree of recognitionInternational
Granting OrganisationsGlobal Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought

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