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Volume 25, Number 1 (2000)

“Of the Irritable Genus”: The Role of Susanna Moodie in the Publishing of Roughing It in the Bush

March 25, 2010


Roughing It in the Bush was transformed through successive editions as new collaborators, through excisions and additions, recreated the text to meet their needs and those of their audience. In the mid-nineteenth century, a restructuring of the publishing industry led to conflict between publishers and authors over their respective positions regarding publication. While Richard Bentley's role in the creation of Roughing It was crucial to the position it assumed in the marketplace, the first three editions of the text were created in dialogue with Susanna Moodie. Between the time the original manuscript was sent and Roughing It in the Bush was first published in 1852, a series of editorial changes were implemented at the Bentley house to maximize the book's appeal to a variety of audiences. While Moodie was not present to oversee these changes, the material evidence of her relationship with Bentley and the documents of the publishing history of her book reveal a Susanna Moodie who was a distant yet active participant in the publishing process.