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Kindred Hands

Letters on Writing by British and American Women Authors, 1865-1935

Jennifer Cognard-Black, Elizabeth MacLeod Walls

Publication Year: 2006

Kindred Hands, a collection of previously unpublished letters by women writers, explores the act and art of writing from diverse perspectives and experiences. The letters illuminate such issues as authorship, aesthetics, collaboration, inspiration, and authorial intent. By focusing on letters that deal with authorship, the editors reveal a multiplicity of perspectives on female authorship that would otherwise require visits to archives and special collections.Representing some of the most important female writers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including transatlantic correspondents, women of color, canonical writers, regional writers, and women living in the British empire, Kindred Hands will enliven scholarship on a host of topics, including reception theory, feminist studies, social history, composition theory, modernism, and nineteenth-century studies. Moreover, because it represents previously unpublished primary sources, the collection will initiate new discussions on race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and gender with an eye to writing at the turn of the twentieth century.The WritersMary Elizabeth Braddon, Mary Cholmondeley, Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright [George Egerton], Rhoda Broughton, Marie Corelli, Rebecca Harding Davis, Mary Abigail Dodge [Gail Hamilton], Jessie Redmon Fauset, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison [Lucas Malet], Annesley Kenealy, Palma Pederson, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Henrietta Stannard, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rosamund Marriott Watson [Graham R. Tomson]

Published by: University of Iowa Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-19

Letters are, by definition, common artifacts. Their contents capture the transitory, finite experience of the everyday — the private expression and connection that, historically, has delimited both British and American women’s lives. The letters contained in this collection exemplify a world dependent upon epistolary communication. However, while these letters are in some ways prototypic ...

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1. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896)

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pp. 21-41

That Harriet Beecher Stowe would become, at age forty, the best-known and best-paid author of nineteenth-century America was, in part, the accident of having been born and raised in antebellum New England — a time and a place in which women writers dominated the American literary scene. The seventh child of Roxana Foote Beecher and Lyman Beecher, Stowe was born in Litchfield, ...

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2. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825 - 1911)

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pp. 43-57

Frances E. W. Harper’s professional reputation was first established as an abolitionist lecturer and writer. Her poetry and prose appeared regularly in antislavery publications such as the North Star, the Liberator, the Anti-Slavery Bugle, the Provincial Freeman, and the National Anti-Slavery Standard. William Still verifies her prominence in that movement by devoting an entire chapter of his ...

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3. Rebecca Harding Davis (1831 - 1910)

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pp. 59-70

Although born in a small town in Alabama, Rebecca Harding Davis lived in Wheeling, (West) Virginia, from the age of six until her marriage to L. Clarke Davis in 1863, settling thereafter in Philadelphia. It was the environment of Wheeling, a cotton and iron manufactory town, which gave Davis the background for her most famous story, “Life in the Iron-Mills” (1861). Considered ...

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4. Mary Abigail Dodge [Gail Hamilton] (1833 - 1896)

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pp. 71-86

Mary Abigail Dodge, who published under the name Gail Hamilton, was a well-known essayist, editor, and humorist who could best be described, in Judith Fetterley’s words, as a “cultural critic-at-large” (424). She is now primarily remembered for her protofeminist essays, most notably those collected in Country Living and Country Thinking (1862) and Woman’s Wrongs: A Counter-Irritant ...

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5. Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835 - 1915)

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pp. 87-105

Mary Elizabeth Braddon was one of the most popular and prolific writers of the nineteenth century, though she was also one of the most controversial. In 1865 Henry James crowned Braddon “the founder of the sensation novel,” a title that brought with it more ridicule than accolades.¹ Sensation novels were a genre of fiction that exposed the lurid underbelly of Victorian middle-class ...

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6. Mary Cholmondeley (1859 - 1925) and Rhoda Broughton (1840 - 1920)

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pp. 107-119

Mary Cholmondeley and Rhoda Broughton were both daughters of Anglican clergyman. Both grew up and spent their early adult lives in isolated parsonages on the northern English-Welsh border (Broughton in Cheshire and Staffordshire, Cholmondeley in Shropshire); both moved in overlapping circles of the country gentry, though as children of impoverished “younger sons” rather ...

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7. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844 - 1911)

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pp. 121-132

In her autobiography, Chapters from a Life (1896), Elizabeth Stuart Phelps claimed that she was destined for a literary life. Born Mary Gray Phelps on 31 August 1844, she entered a Boston family of accomplished writers. When Phelps was four years old, her father was appointed Professor of Rhetoric at Andover Theological Seminary. Before him there were ministerial ancestors accustomed to writing and publishing their sermons. ...

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8. Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison [Lucas Malet] (1852 - 1931)

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pp. 133-146

Lucas Malet (Mary St. Leger Kingsley Harrison), remarkable for her literary productivity, wrote seventeen successful novels, several essays, and short stories. Her most important works are The Wages of Sin (1891), The Gateless Barrier (1900), The History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901), The Far Horizon (1906), Adrian Savage (1911), The Survivors (1923), and The Dogs of Want (1924). Two ...

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9. Henrietta Stannard, Mari Corelli and Annesley Kenealy (1855 - 1924)

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pp. 147-162

The Society of Authors, founded in 1884 by Walter Besant, was the first organization to advocate fair practices in the literary marketplace with regard to copyright and pay for the numerous authors writing in a developing industry. Through a variety of social and professional activities and its monthly journal, the Author, the Society became a major force in public discussion of authorship ...

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10. Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright [George Egerton] (1859 - 1945)

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pp. 163-177

Mary Chavelita Dunne Bright [George Egerton] seems today to be almost a caricature of the now familiar figure of the short-lived, though profoundly influential, New Woman of the late nineteenth century. Irish, unconventional, and sexually independent, Egerton personified the outsider among English literati — and, indeed, she seemed to cultivate this status. Born Chavelita Dunne to an ...

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11. Rosamund Marriott Watson [Graham R. Tomson] (1860 - 1911)

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pp. 179-191

Born Rosamond Ball in 1860, the poet and woman of letters known as Graham R. Tomson from 1887 to 1894, then as Rosamund Marriott Watson until her death in 1911, was a significant figure among New Woman poets and female aesthetes in fin-de-si

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12. Palma Pederson (1879 - 1950)

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pp. 193-216

The early life of Palma Pederson¹ — or Palma, her nom de plume and preferred designation in her letters — resembles the plot of one of her own novels.² Born on 18 November 1879 in the coastal town of Porsgrund, Norway, Palma was the youngest of nine children and the only daughter of Per and Marie Anderson. Palma’s father was a tailor who, due to drinking, suffered severe financial losses. ...

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13. Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882 - 1961)

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pp. 217-234

Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882 – 1961) was an essayist, short-story writer, novelist, and literary editor for the Crisis. She is remembered for her second novel Plum Bun (1928), which highlights the complex relationship between race and sex for an African-American woman artist. Such a focus is significant given Fauset’s own position during the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro ...


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pp. 235-237


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pp. 239-247

E-ISBN-13: 9781587296628
E-ISBN-10: 1587296624
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877459644
Print-ISBN-10: 0877459649

Page Count: 255
Publication Year: 2006

OCLC Number: 219745054
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Kindred Hands

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Subject Headings

  • Women authors, American -- Correspondence.
  • Women authors, English -- Correspondence.
  • American prose literature -- 19th century.
  • American prose literature -- 20th century.
  • English letters.
  • American letters.
  • Authorship.
  • English prose literature -- 19th century.
  • English prose literature -- 20th century.
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