“Formatted to Infiltrate”

“Formatted to Infiltrate”

In this episode

In this episode, we talk to literary scholar Madeline Zehnder about her research on the relationship between pocket-sized print formats and the management of soldiers during the U.S. Civil War. We learn what soldiers read during their downtime and how print material circulated in nineteenth-century America. We also discuss how publisher choices about print format intersected with military and civilian attempts to manage the health, conduct and efficiency of soldiers at scale.

The interview was inspired by an article by Madeline entitled “Adapted to the Soldier’s Pocket”: Military Discipline, Religious Publishing, and the Power of Print Format during the US Civil War. The article was published in spring 2024 in Book History and is available via Project Muse.

Madeline Zehnder is a trained literary scholar. Her research covers book history, material culture, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature. After finishing her master’s degree and PhD at the University of Virginia, she’s currently a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a member of our research group “Kleine Formen”.


Recommended citation:

“Formatted to Infiltrate”. Interview with Madeline Zehnder, in: microform. Der Podcast des Graduiertenkollegs Literatur- und Wissensgeschichte kleiner Formen, available at: www.kleine-formen.de/interview-with-madeline-zehnder, Berlin 2024 [Datum des letzten Abrufs].


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Jonathan Sterne, MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 7.

Meredith L. McGill, “Format,” Early American Studies 16, no, 4 (2018): 674. See also McGill, “Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and the Circuits of Abolitionist Poetry,” in Early African American Print Culture, ed. Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 62.



Johann Gartlinger and Marvin Renfordt

Marie van Bömmel

Marvin Renfordt

Johann Gartlinger

Ana María Orjuela-Acosta, Johann Gartlinger, Marvin Renfordt, Marie van Bömmel and Madeline Zehnder

Credits are read by
Ana María Orjuela-Acosta

“Helion Ruins”, “Palms Down” from Blue Dot Sessions

Michael Hoeldke (composition) and Cathrin Bonhoff (voice)

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