Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century

Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century

Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century

Doing Literary Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century

Synopsis

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Excerpt

This study focuses on the literary careers of five women writers of the nineteenth century: E. D. E. N. Southworth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Abigail Dodge who used the pseudonym "Gail Hamilton," Helen Hunt Jackson who used the pseudonyms "H. H." and "Saxe Holm," and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (Ward). Although I had first planned to write a composite history of women's literary professionalism in the nineteenth century based on studies of the careers of twenty writers, I eventually decided that a composite approach obscured important differences between the women by emphasizing somewhat misleading similarities. Therefore, I turned my attention to the five writers named above. I chose these particular writers because I had developed an enormous respect for them as individuals facing particular problems in their careers and because, though individuals, they also show what I believe are some typical experiences and responses of women in the literary marketplace.

My choice of individuals will, perhaps, be faulted for one reason or another: I have left out some important writers; I have not looked at those women who failed; I have not adequately represented women's cultural diversity. I would claim, however, that my five writers provide a good cross section from the very popular to the moderately successful, from the well-to-do to the occasionally impoverished; their social class and race are typical of writers of their time, although their approaches to and experiences in the world were quite varied. They also represent women's participation in a variety of literary fields—fiction, poetry, and nonfiction ; they used literary approaches from the sensational to the serious. In addition, the overlapping years of these writers' careers provide a useful time line for women's participation in the literary marketplace from the I840s to the early I900s. Although I do not claim they represent every woman's experiences in that marketplace, I do believe these five women . . .

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