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This is a rediscovery of the bold cosmopolitan activism and professional literary adventures of six antebellum writers. By looking beyond the familiar works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Grace Greenwood, Margaret Fuller and Frederick Douglass to their public commentaries in lectures, reviews, and newspaper columns, this study uncovers their startling contributions to transatlantic culture. Louise Eckel argues that writing American literature was only one among their many vocational pursuits and that their work was powerfully influenced by wide-ranging political engagements and transnational friendships. The book's chapters balance close readings of primary texts, both literary (poems, essays) and non-literary (newspaper articles, lectures) with critically informed discussions of writers' transatlantic experiences. While each focuses on a single author, each converses with other chapters on the subjects of nationalism, cosmopolitanism, creativity, and reform. It questions the 'American' identity of representative authors, even as they test the moral and geographical limits of American nationality. It demonstrates the political and commercial power of transatlantic networking. It illuminates literature's dependence upon other modes of professional creativity. It examines archival documents alongside familiar literary works.