By Robert Mcclure Smith, Ellen Weinauer (eds.)
Elizabeth Stoddard was once a talented author of fiction, poetry, and journalism; effectively released inside of her personal lifetime; esteemed through such writers as William Dean Howells and Nathaniel Hawthorne; and located on the epicenter of recent York's literary international. still, she has been nearly excluded from literary reminiscence and significance. This e-book seeks to appreciate why. through reconsidering Stoddard’s existence and paintings and her present marginal prestige within the evolving canon of yank literary stories, it increases very important questions on women’s writing within the nineteenth century and canon formation within the twentieth century.
Essays during this examine find Stoddard within the context of her contemporaries, corresponding to Dickinson and Hawthorne, whereas others situate her paintings within the context of significant 19th-century cultural forces and concerns, between them the Civil warfare and Reconstruction, race and ethnicity, anorexia and feminine invalidism, nationalism and localism, and incest. One essay examines the advance of Stoddard's paintings within the gentle of her biography, and others probe her stylistic and philosophic originality, the journalistic roots of her voice, and the elliptical subject matters of her brief fiction. Stoddard’s lifelong venture to articulate the character and dynamics of woman's subjectivity, her difficult therapy of woman urge for food and should, and her depiction of the complicated and sometimes ambivalent relationships that white middle-class ladies needed to their family areas also are thoughtfully considered.
The editors argue that the forget of Elizabeth Stoddard's contribution to American literature is a compelling instance of the contingency of severe values and the instability of literary background. This learn asks the query, Will Stoddard endure?” Will she proceed to float into oblivion or will a brand new new release of readers and critics safe her tenuous legacy?
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Additional resources for American Culture, Canons, and the Case of Elizabeth Stoddard
A perusal of the anthology reveals Stoddard to be one of the anthologist’s “few exceptions,” an exceptional status reinforced by Gray’s brief explanatory note on the Stoddard selections: “Like her ¤ction, [Stoddard’s] poems show the in®uence of such Gothic authors as Emily Brontë in depicting family tensions, incest and decaying households” (97). Gray’s pigeonholing of Stoddard as a Brontë-inspired gothicist makes the “cultural work” of her poetry, especially in the larger American context of sentimentalism evoked by the volume’s other selections, somewhat opaque to say the least.
The plot doubles back on its apparently neutral mirroring of Margaret’s selfsuppression, revealing that the marriage into which it leads her is erotically charged but personally demeaning. Several other stories of the 1860s—among them “Tuberoses” (1864), “The Prescription” (1864), “The Chimneys” (1865)—also feature the contradictions between their heroines’ desires for personal autonomy and romantic ful¤llment and the structures of gender (and sometimes class) that stand between them and their goals.
I felt myself a monster when I read it. [H]ow is it that I inspire love as a woman Edmund, with those terri¤c qualities—men and woman still love me with a headlong feeling that 32 / Sandra A. Zagarell sends them into an exaltation” (12 July 1863). In 1891, when she is sixtynine years old, she is still determined to elicit Stedman’s response to her strongly felt sexuality, yet she also gropes to voice the discrepancy between that sexuality and the sexual invisibility imposed by age. “Since all women look handsome to you,” she writes, “may I lie in your roadway soon, never will the brands of passion die out in my nature, through their blackness, the red ¤re will suddenly appear, and run like a serpant [sic]—I have constantly to struggle between the feeling of others, that I am an old woman to be set aside, while the young bachantes [sic] whirl by with uplifted arms in the dance of life—and my own feeling of my inward power of life, and achievement.
American Culture, Canons, and the Case of Elizabeth Stoddard by Robert Mcclure Smith, Ellen Weinauer (eds.)