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date: 20 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the late 1870s a body of writing on tramps began appearing in the same nationally circulating magazines that were publishing regional fiction. The chapter argues that this tramp literature presented a view of the nation that differed from the one found in regional fiction; as the tramp circulated, he encountered a country seamless in its geography and connected by commerce. These articles also offered a different representation of the tramp. Often criminalized, the tramp became in print a homegrown, thoroughly modern figure. By the early 1900s, Jack London could produce the first writing on tramps to have the qualities of “literature,” marking this transformation of the tramp from social problem into a source of romantic possibility.

Keywords: tramp, regional fiction, magazines, literature, The Road

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