Title Page

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p. 3

Copyright

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p. 4

Contents

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p. 5

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A Note from the Publisher

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p. 7

Life in the Iron Mills was The Feminist Press's first rediscovered classic. It inaugurated our "reprint" series. It has sold more than 26,000 copies in 9 printings over 12 years. Rebecca Harding Davis's name has been added to the list of major nineteenth-century writers of short fiction. In part to celebrate the fifteenth birthday of The Feminist Press in 1985, in part to acknowledge Davis as a fiction writer, we have produced this newly expanded edition...

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Life in the Iron Mills

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pp. 9-72

You are about to give the life of your reading to a forgotten American classic, Rebecca Harding's Life in the Iron Mills. reprinted here after 124 years from the April 1861 Atlantic Monthly. Without precedent or predecessor, it recorded what no one else recorded; alone in its epoch and for decades to come, saw the significance, the presage, in scorned or unseen native materials-and wrought them into art. Written in secret and in isolation by a thirty-year-old unmarried...

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A Biographical Interpretation

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pp. 73-180

Life in the Iron Mills was not written out of compassion or condescending pity. The thirty-year-old Rebecca Harding who wrote it, wrote in absolute identification with "thwarted, wasted lives ... mighty hungers ... unawakened power"; despised love; circumstances that denied use of capacities; imperfect, self-tutored art that could have only odd moments for its doing-as if these were her own. And they were,...

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The Wife's Story

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pp. 181-228

I will tell you the story of my life, since you ask it; for, though the meaning of the life of any woman of my character would be the same, I believe, the facts of mine, being sharp and compressed, may make it, perhaps, more apparent. It will be enough for me to give you the history of one day,-that of our first coming to Newport; for it seems to me as if it held and spoke out plainly whatever gist and significance there was in all the years for me. I...

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Anne

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pp. 229-252

It was a strange thing, the like of which had never before happened to Anne. In her matter-of-fact, orderly life mysterious impressions were rare. She tried to account for it afterward by remembering that she had fallen asleep out-of- doors. And out-of-doors, where there is the hot sun and the sea and the teeming earth and tireless winds, there are perhaps great forces at work, both good and evil, mighty creatures of God going to and fro, who do not enter into...