Beyond the Gibson Girl
Reimagining the American New Woman, 1895-1915
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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This book has had such a long gestation that it is difficult now to acknowledge properly the impetus for its origins, but I would like to begin by thanking my mentors at the University of Iowa: Linda Kerber, Kim Marra, Teresa Mangum, Kathleen Diffley, and Tom Lutz. ...
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Christened in 1894 during a debate between Sarah Grand and Ouida in the North American Review, the New Woman immediately inspired censure and applause on both sides of the Atlantic. Within the dominant white press, she was either what her detractors called an unattractive, browbeating usurper of traditionally masculine roles, ...
1. Selling the American New Woman as Gibson Girl
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Single, white, affluent, politically and socially progressive, highly educated, and athletic, the dominant version of the New Woman was a liminal figure between the Victorian woman and the flapper, a “pioneer [of] new roles” able to “insist upon a rightful place within the genteel world” (Smith-Rosenberg 245). ...
2. Margaret Murray Washington, Pauline Hopkins, and the New Negro Woman
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On April 3, 1901, Florence Ledyard Cross Kitchelt—socialist, suffragist, and settlement worker—described in her journal the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Booker T. Washington at New York City’s Social Reform Club: “they both are especially noted for their common sense. Mrs. Washington is lighter than he and has beautiful features, arched brows, blue (?) eyes, ...
3. Incorporating the New Woman in Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country
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Written during the course of Wharton’s break with her husband Teddy, her affair with Morton Fullerton, the sale of her beloved home, growing tension with her long-time publisher, Scribner’s, and just after the financial crash of 1907, The Custom of the Country (1913) reflects Wharton’s own marital, domestic, and financial anxiety.1 ...
4. Sui Sin Far and the Wisdom of the New
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“With her quaint manners and old-fashioned mode of life, she carries our minds back to times almost as ancient as the earth we live on. She is a bit of olden Oriental coloring amidst our modern Western lights and shades; and though her years be few, she is yet a relic of antiquity” (59). So Sui Seen Far begins “The Chinese Woman in America” (1897), ...
5. Mary Johnston, Ellen Glasgow, and the Evolutionary Logic of Progressive Reform
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By 1913, the writing careers of Mary Johnston and Ellen Glasgow were firmly established. Johnston’s historical romances To Have and to Hold, Audrey, Sir Mortimer, Lewis Rand, and The Long Roll had appeared on the best-sellers’ lists in 1900, 1902, 1904, 1908, and 1911 respectively. Glasgow’s realist work did not meet quite as much popular success ...
6. Willa Cather and the Fluid Mechanics of the New Woman
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On November 16, 1895, in a column on the current literary scene for the Lincoln Courier, Willa Cather praises Henry James as “that mighty master of language and keen student of human actions” but wishes he would write “about modern society, about ‘degeneracy’ and the new woman and all the rest of it” (World 275). ...
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In 1905, Charles Dana Gibson made a dramatic life change. Fearing that his staple pen-and-ink drawings would give way to the more exciting world of color—Remington, Parrish, and Frost had already made the transition—Gibson relinquished both his lucrative contracts with Collier’s and Life and his future book …
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2005