A Corrupt Medium: Stephen Burroughs and the Bridgehampton, New York, Library
Libraries & Culture
University of Texas Press
In his eighteenth-century Memoirs, criminal Stephen Burroughs tells of his campaign to establish a library in Bridgehampton, New York. When the town elders discover the plan, they insist upon reviewing Burroughs's choices. Undercurrents of other debates spill over into what would otherwise merely be some quibbling over book selections. In a series of vividly recounted public meetings, Burroughs pits the local elders against himself and "the People." These book wars are clearly situated in ideological struggles regarding rationalism and the role of reading in general; but, more significantly, they are situated in a representational context that by its very genre-that of the rogue narrative-calls into question the role of individual interpretation and literary influence.
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