By Robert Mcclure Smith, Ellen Weinauer (eds.)
Elizabeth Stoddard used to be a proficient author of fiction, poetry, and journalism; effectively released inside of her personal lifetime; esteemed by means of such writers as William Dean Howells and Nathaniel Hawthorne; and positioned on the epicenter of recent York's literary global. still, she has been nearly excluded from literary reminiscence and significance. This ebook seeks to appreciate why. by means of reconsidering Stoddard’s lifestyles and paintings and her present marginal prestige within the evolving canon of yank literary reviews, it increases very important questions about women’s writing within the nineteenth century and canon formation within the twentieth century.
Essays during this research find Stoddard within the context of her contemporaries, akin to Dickinson and Hawthorne, whereas others situate her paintings within the context of significant 19th-century cultural forces and concerns, between them the Civil conflict 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 may, and her depiction of the advanced and infrequently ambivalent relationships that white middle-class ladies needed to their household areas also are thoughtfully considered.
The editors argue that the overlook 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 research asks the query, Will Stoddard endure?” Will she proceed to float into oblivion or will a brand new iteration of readers and critics safe her tenuous legacy?
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Additional info for American Culture, Canons, and the Case of Elizabeth Stoddard
Her philosophic and stylistic originality, her con®icts, her accomplishments, and her failures render Elizabeth Stoddard’s work, and her life, of great interest. In both, she not only complicates our models of nineteenth-century American women writers but also, like many in her cohort, pursues questions that continue to speak across the distance of time. Biographical Foreword / 33 NOTES 1. See Nina Baym’s well-known formulation of literary women’s conception of authorship, before 1870, as “a profession rather than a calling, as work and not art” (Woman’s Fiction  32).
But it is worth considering whether Stoddard’s assessment of her poetry is actually genuine or at all deeply felt. For any writer dealing with commercial failure, the self-deprecating diminution of the art may serve as a necessary defense mechanism. And for Stoddard, commercial success—as much as, if not more than, critical respect—represented a tangible validation of worth. Her volume’s commercial failure may have af¤rmed her sense of her poems’ “feeble existence,” but there is little indication that she considered her poems, the work of a lifetime, to have a “feeble” worth.
Born Elizabeth Drew Barstow in the whaling and shipbuilding town of Mattapoisett at the base of Cape Cod, Stoddard came from an old if undistinguished New England family. Her immediate family was well off and, though not part of the town aristocracy, enjoyed local prominence. , was a successful shipbuilder who encouraged family members to enjoy their af®uence. Yet Elizabeth’s Biographical Foreword / 23 early experience of prosperity was tempered by a sense of its precariousness: her father went bankrupt three times, the ¤rst instance in 1843.
American Culture, Canons, and the Case of Elizabeth Stoddard by Robert Mcclure Smith, Ellen Weinauer (eds.)