As you’ll see, I’m letting Michael McKeon have the final word (see above).
Nonetheless, I’d like to personally thank everyone involved with this first Collective Reading: Carrie Shanafelt, who made this blog possible with her time and energy, and who kicked off discussion with the first post; Tita Chico, Carrie Hintz, and Laura Rosenthal, and most of all Michael McKeon, who submitted himself and his book to a grueling, week-long process of cyber-questioning, despite technical glitches and truncated posts. I do hope that all of you continue to check in with us from time to time. The Long Eighteenth will always welcome your suggestions and contributions. Please stay in touch.
Some of my students have told me they were following our exchanges, and I’m hoping that those who listened in on the discussion will soon start posting their own comments, observations, and queries on everything “Long Eighteenth.” As you can see from last week’s discussion, we do not bite (even while debating method).
Please let us know your ideas for the next collective reading, either in terms of books or other kinds of events. If you or your friends want to propose some new type of event, maybe a forum on a particular topic, or something entirely new, please post it to the list or contact me offlist at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also eager to hear any suggestions you might have about improving the format of our Collective Readings.
Michael Warner once remarked that a modern “public” is by definition an address to strangers, an address to a group of people that cannot be known in advance. A public is “more than a list of one’s friends,” but is instead a group of strangers who come together into a “public” by virtue of their participation (74). I have been very happy to find the names of some old friends on this blog; but I am also pleased to find here some scholars whose work I look forward to learning about in the future. Thanks to all of you for helping us come together around this book.