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Popular reading - specific audiences—women farmers and...

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Popular reading.  Improvements made to printing presses had a dramatic impact on Americans' reading.  As technology reduced production costs, allowing publishers to sell newspapers for a  penny an issue, readership increased. The number of newspapers in the country grew  from fewer than 100 in 1790 to more than 3,700 by 1860. Large metropolitan papers,  such as the  New York Sun  and the  New York Herald , featured sensational stories about  crime, sex, and scandal. The number of magazines also began to grow in the second  half of the nineteenth century. “Highbrow” periodicals, such as the  North American  Review  and  Harper's , which is still in print today, carried articles by some of the most  noted authors of the day, while other magazines catered to the tastes and interests of 
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Unformatted text preview: specific audiences—women, farmers, and businessmen, for example. The expansion of public education, the opening of lending libraries, and the popularity of the lyceum created a mass audience for books. Although the works of Cooper and Hawthorne sold well, even more popular were sentimental novels by and for women, books that provided advice or practical instruction (early “how-to” books), and literature with a moral message. Often, books were serialized in newspapers or magazines before they were published as full novels. Such was the case with Harriet Beecher Stowe's bestseller Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), which was written in response to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and did much to strengthen antislavery sentiment in the North....
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