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The Complete Letters of Constance Fenimore Woolson

Sharon L. Dean

Publication Year: 2012

In recent years Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) has been fictionalized at least three times, perhaps most notably in Colm Tóibín's award-winning work The Master, a novelization of the life of Woolson's close friend Henry James. But Woolson was a literary star in her own right, publishing in the premier magazines of her day. She penned critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and poetry until her mysterious death in Venice at age fifty-three.

Sharon Dean has recompiled, dated, and, in many cases, physically reassembled all of Woolson’s extant correspondence from nearly forty sources. Dean's painstaking work presents the fullest picture we have of Woolson and functions as an important corrective to the fictional portrayals. In these letters one finds rich personal detail alongside ruminations on contemporary political and social conditions. A trenchant critic of the customs and mores of her age, Woolson, in her letters, offers a nuanced perspective on life as a woman and as a writer in the nineteenth century.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-iv

Contents

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p. vii-vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xi

Constance Fenimore Woolson’s letters, gathered for the first time in The Complete Letters of Constance Fenimore Woolson, remove Woolson not only from the “awful silence” that her sister Clara Benedict wrote of in her letter to May Harris, but also from the shadow of Henry James, with whom many scholars have associated her to ...

A Note on the Text

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pp. xiii-xv

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Acknowledgments

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p. xvii-xvii

The task of finding and collating letters that Woolson rarely dated by year has been enormous, and I could not have completed it without the help and encouragement of numerous people. Kristin Comment began the project with me and purchased and transcribed many of the early letters. With Kathleen Diffley’s prompting, ...

Sources

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pp. xix-xxi

Chronology

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pp. xxiii-xix

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Introduction: Twenty Years a Wanderer

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pp. xxxi-xl

On July 4, 1893, Constance Woolson wrote from Venice to her niece Kate Mather, “It is a curious fate that has made the most domestic woman in the world,—the one most fond of a home, a fixed home, and all her own things about her,—that has made such a woman a wanderer for nearly twenty years.” On this Fourth of July, herOn July 4, 1893, Constance Woolson wrote from Venice to her niece Kate Mather, “It is a curious fate that has made the most domestic woman in the world,—the one most fond of a home, a fixed home, and all her own things about her,—that has made such a woman a wanderer for nearly twenty years.” On this Fourth of July, her ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. xli-xlii

LETTERS

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pp. 1-563

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ADDENDUM OF LETTERS

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pp. 565-580

For the sake of her own and her correspondents’ privacy, Woolson apparently burned numerous letters she received from other people. Many scholars also believe that Henry James burned letters written to her when he helped clean out her apartment at the Casa Semitecolo after her death. The few letters to survive and ...

Appendix of Names

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pp. 581-598

Index

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pp. 599-609

About the Author

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p. 610-610


E-ISBN-13: 9780813043579
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813039893

Page Count: 592
Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 1840-1894 -- Correspondence.
  • Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 1840-1894 -- Biography.
  • Authors, American -- 19th century -- Biography.
  • Women and literature -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
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