Jennifer Snead

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities

20022003 Forum on The Book

Jennifer Snead

18th-century British Literature

Ph.D., Duke University, 2001

A “Strife of Words:” Eighteenth-Century Print Culture and the Publications of John Wesley

Issues integral to 18th-century book production— audience, distribution, piracy, chapbook reductions, compilations—challenge 21st-century models of “Enlightenment” authorship, authority, and agency. Dr. Snead examines the role of John Wesley within this context of mid- to late-eighteenth century English and American literary and print culture. Wesley’s literary role as writer, editor, publisher, and bookseller has often been neglected at the expense of his impact on the religious practices of the day, namely his fostering of an overtly Christian epistemology that focused on affective emotion.

Dr. Snead’s project highlights Wesley’s editorial methods not in an attempt to construct a coherent doctrine of Methodism, but rather in terms of the general readership he sought and mainly succeeded in reaching on both sides of the Atlantic. He strove to educate an unlettered audience, an effort disavowed by his literary contemporaries. As a “man of print,” Wesley is a central player in fashioning a model of authority adequate for the demands of an increasingly commercialized print marketplace.


Courses: in the 18th Century; Books that Make You Cry