Narrative in the Professional Age: Transatlantic Readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Eliot, and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

By Jennifer Cognard-Black | Go to book overview

Chapter Four

"Proclaiming the Royal Lineage to the Average Mind"

High-Art Aesthetics, the Novel, and Competing Femininities in Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's

The Story of Avis

APPEARING A YEAR AFTER DANIEL DERONDA, THE PUBLICATION AND RECEPTION of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps's The Story of Avis serves as a culminating case study of the historical, political, economic, and aesthetic trends encountered by Stowe, Eliot, and Phelps throughout the 1870s. Where Eliot had repudiated false professional strictures, Phelps amalgamated the market role of the professional within her own aesthetic vision. Where Stowe had tried to claim an aesthetic and specifically feminine sensibility akin to, but decidedly removed from, Woman's Rights, Phelps saw her art as intimately bound up with the suffrage and worker's rights movements, going one step further than Stowe's representation of Lady Byron to articulate, in Avis, both a blatant artist-heroine as well as a mythological country of womanhood-a country symbolized by the metaphorical concept of an all-encompassing Sphinx. And where both Stowe and Eliot had resisted commercial trends (even when employing them), Phelps had less difficulty commodifying her artistry and selling it to the group of readers she most hoped to influence: those "helpless, outnumbering, unconsulted" women.

Like Lady Byron Vindicated and Daniel Deronda, The Story of Avis appeared after Phelps had secured a prominent position as a well-known writer. A little less than a decade before Avis, Phelps published The Gates Ajar, a novel she claims to have written to ameliorate suffering from women who had lost husbands, sons, and fiancés in the Civil War. Because Gates depicted heaven as a domestic idyll-replete with hearths and puppies and ginger snap cookies-many in America and England found the books message blasphemous. Yet American sales neared 100,000 before the end of the century, and British sales exceeded even that. 1 Prior to this success, Phelps had been an obscure writer from Andover, Massachusetts. 2 Afterward, however, she became an important part of the New England literary community-as well as a member of the elite circle of Harper's contributors-thus participating as a full-fledged professional in the transatlantic literary marketplace.

-117-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Narrative in the Professional Age: Transatlantic Readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Eliot, and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • List of Cited Collections xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter One - "You Are as Thoroughly Woman as You Are English" 27
  • Chapter Two - "The Wild and Distracted Call for Proof" 63
  • Chapter Three - "A More Living Interest" 87
  • Chapter Four - "Proclaiming the Royal Lineage to the Average Mind" 117
  • Afterword 149
  • Notes 151
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 205
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 214

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.