From Edwards to Slosson: Typology, Nature, and the New England Domestic Gothic

By Wilczynski, Marek | Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies, Annual 2001 | Go to article overview

From Edwards to Slosson: Typology, Nature, and the New England Domestic Gothic


Wilczynski, Marek, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia: international review of English Studies


To the memory of David H. Hirsch

Jonathan Edwards does not really require much introduction to an audience of Americanists and everyone will recognize in this title the blueprint of Perry Miller's classic essay on the continuity of ideas in New England from the leader of the Great Awakening to that of the "Transcendental Club". On the contrary, at least so far, Annie Trumbull Slosson had a long run of posthumous bad luck, since her name hardly ever appeared even in the most narrowly focused studies of the New England local color fiction at the turn of the twentieth century. Josephine Donovan, the feminist redeemer of authors disregarded and forgotten, does not mention Slosson's name in her otherwise comprehensive New England Local Color Literature. A Women's Tradition (1983), while the standard authority in the field, Perry D. Westbrook, devotes to her just one page in his Acres of Flint. Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Contemporaries (2nd rev. ed. 1981). In fact, Westbrook is quite embarrassed even by this modest sign of recognition, for he write s:

As there is no crime or immorality in being Genteel, one should approach Slosson for what she was -- a short-story writer of very slender yet definitely discernible talent. ... The low-water mark of Slosson's and of the whole tradition that she represented is found in The Local Colorist. Realizing that her slight vein of talent has been worked out, she here resorts to parodying her own style -- the excessive interest in dialect, the preoccupation with nature study, the sentimentality of her plots. When a tradition's vitality consists solely in the possibilities it offers for parody that tradition is probably near extinction (Westbrook 1981: 158-159).

In Westbrook's view, the "most impressive work" of Slosson's is a collection called Dumb Foxglove and Other Stories (1898). The critic even makes a brief reference to one specific tale from the volume, "Anna Malann", although for some reason he does not consider it worthwhile to mention the title. Other -- indeed scanty -- information about Slosson includes her place of birth, which was Stonington in eastern Connecticut; place of permanent residence after marriage, which was New York; lifelong emotional ties with New England, and passions for collecting chinaware and insects. What attracted Westbrook's attention is also the significance of traditional Calvinism or, more precisely, Congregationalism, for the predominantly female world of Slosson's fiction. All in all, then, as a kind of belated epigone -- oddly enough, since actually she was a contemporary of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and Sarah Orne Jewett -- Annie Trumbull Slosson has been thus far relegated by criticism to the obsourest nook in the limbo of mi nor literary figures. The present effort to move her to a relatively more prominent position is based on two collections of stories: The Dumb Foxglove, acknowledged by Westbrook as of some importance but virtually unexamined, and Seven Dreamers, first published in 1890. (As a matter of fact, both volumes have been reprinted by the Books for Libraries Press in 1970 and 1969, respectively.) Particularly the latter collection -- preceding The Dumb Foxglove and bracketed by the best known short story books of Wilkins Freeman: A Humble Romance (1887) and A New England Nun (1891) -- will be approached as an arguably notable contribution to the American gothic in its late nineteenth-century "domestic" or, as Lawrence Buell has put it with emphasis placed on cultural geography, "provincial" gothic variant.

"By 'provincial gothic'," writes Buell, "I mean the use of gothic conventions to anatomize the pathology of regional culture" (1986: 351). While in the fiction of Freeman this pathology is observed for the most part on the level of distorted or unfulfilled family relationships, as for instance in "The Revolt of 'Mother'" or "The New England Nun", often approached by critics in feminist terms (Blatt Glasser 1996; Donovan 1983: 119-138), the stories of Slosson -- in particular those from Seven Dreamers -- focus on cases of derangement and disturbances of personal identity. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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 article

This article 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 article

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

Cited article

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 article

From Edwards to Slosson: Typology, Nature, and the New England Domestic Gothic
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    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.