- Brief Mention
Letters from New York. By Lydia Maria Child. Ed. Bruce Mills. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press. 1998. xxxi, 268 pp. Paper, $19.95.
Collected and published in 1843, Letters consists of forty-eight essays taken from Child’s contributions to the National Anti-Slavery Standard between 1841 and 1843. With topics ranging from women’s rights and animal magnetism to the Amistad captives and the preaching of African American minister Julia Pell, the essays offer a unique perspective on the intellectual and cultural tensions that characterized New York’s emergence as an urban center. Mills’s introduction provides a detailed discussion of both Child’s career and the book’s publication history and critical reception.
The Indian Reform Letters of Helen Hunt Jackson, 1879–1885. Ed. Valerie Sherer Mathes. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press. 1998. xxi, 372 pp. $39.95.
Nineteen illustrations and over 200 letters by Helen Hunt Jackson, most previously unpublished, are included in this edition. Among Jackson’s correspondents were Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Moncure D. Conway, Carl Schurz, and Charles Dudley Warner. Mathes’s extensive annotations and notes contextualize the letters within the scope of Jackson’s involvement in the movement for reform of U.S. Indian policy during the late nineteenth century.
Southern Women in Revolution, 1776–1800: Personal and Political Narratives. By Cynthia A. Kierner. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press. 1998. xxviii, 253 pp. $34.95.
Examining ninety-eight petitions submitted by women in North and South Carolina to their state assemblies during or after the American Revolution, Kierner reveals not only the diversity of the women who petitioned (Tories, [End Page 609] Whigs, propertyless whites, free blacks, slaves) but also the extent of their political engagement and their understanding of their relation to government. Most of the women were seeking compensation for economic losses resulting from the war, but Kierner also includes selections from their petitions for divorce, property rights, and the emancipation of slaves.
A Speaking Aristocracy: Transforming Public Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut. By Christopher Grasso. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press. 1999. viii, 511 pp. Cloth, $59.95; paper, $24.95.
Tapping a wealth of primary sources—hundreds of sermons, essays, speeches, letters, journals, plays, poems, and newspaper articles—this comprehensive study traces the development of print culture and the evolution of the public sphere in eighteenth-century Connecticut. Grasso reveals the midcentury proliferation of newspapers and lay orations that forced the intellectual elite to compete with other voices and address multiple audiences, showing how a tradition in which an authoritative minority spoke to the people was reconfigured to produce a civic conversation of the people.
James Fenimore Cooper’s Landscapes in the Leather-Stocking Series and Other Forest Tales. By Kaarle-Juhani (Nalle) Valtiala. Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica. 1998. 259 pp. No price available.
This analysis of Cooper’s environmental attitudes reveals his embrace of both a pastoral and progressive worldview. The study includes a discussion of Cooper’s romanticism in relation to that of the Hudson River School as well as readings of The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, The Deerslayer, The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish, Satanstoe, The Chainbearer, The Redskins, and The Oak Openings.
Emerson’s Ethics. By Gustaaf Van Cromphout. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press. 1999. xii, 182 pp. $29.95.
This book is a detailed study of Emerson’s ethics in the broader context of ethical theory. Surveying a wide range of texts—from the early college essays to later writings on notions of the self, nature, and literature—Van Cromphout provides a comprehensive discussion of the implications of Emerson’s lifelong preoccupation with the question, “How should I live?”
Rhetorical Deception in the Short Fiction of Hawthorne, Poe, and Melville. By Terry J. Martin. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen. 1998. iv, 106 pp. $59.95.
The twenty-third volume in Edwin Mellen Press’s Studies in Comparative Literature series, this book discusses rhetorical strategy in three short stories: Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue [End Page 610] Morgue,” and Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” Martin’s focus is the generic tendency towards what he terms “ultra deception,” or the...