The eighteenth-century Atlantic world was swept with a radical new form of Christian preaching that aimed to engage the feelings and sensations of mass audiences. In the nineteenth century, this heart-centered preaching became a mainstream form of American Christianity, but in its first hundred years, it was widely regarded as perverse, effeminate, and depraved. Early evangelical Christianity threatened to destabilize social and political orders, to drive the masses “out of their senses,” and to throw gender norms into chaos. This article argues that attention to “trans tonality”—an investigation of trans at the level of tone, expression, and sensation—offers a surprising trans history of early American culture and opens up an archive rich with accounts of gender and sensory variance.

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