American Literature 75.4 (2003) 907-919
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The Life and Writings of Betsey Chamberlain: Native American Mill Worker. Ed. Judith A. Ranta. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press. 2003. xvi, 284 pp. Paper, $18.95.
One of the earliest Native American writers, Chamberlain published stories, local color sketches, and political pieces about the rights of workers, women, and Native people in the Lowell Offering and New England Offering in the 1830s and 1840s. This volume reprints thirty-four of those pieces, along with a substantial biographical and critical introduction.
An Early and Strong Sympathy: The Indian Writings of William Gilmore Simms. Ed. John Caldwell Guilds and Charles Hudson. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press. 2003. lv, 604 pp. $39.95.
Simms wrote more about Native Americans than any other creative writer of his time, and this volume offers a representative sample of his letters, essays, poetry, and short stories. Simms drew on his own experiences as well as readings about Native Americans, assuming creative license to fill in extensive gaps in knowledge with his own imagination. Nonetheless, Guilds suggests, he offers much more complex and sympathetic portrayals of Native Americans than most of his contemporaries.
Becoming Marianne Moore: The Early Poems, 1907–1924. Ed. Robin G. Schulze. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press. 2002. xvi, 504 pp. $50.00.
Schulze suggests that Moore approached her poetry more as process than product, repeatedly revising throughout her lifetime. This volume provides readers an opportunity to explore Moore's process through a facsimile reprint of the 1924 edition of Observations, for which Moore won the Dial Award; the first presentation of these and other poems in literary magazines; a variorum table; and information on the poems' publication history. [End Page 907]
As Ever Yours: The Letters of Max Perkins and Elizabeth Lemmon. Ed. Rodger L. Tarr. University Park: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press. 2003. xii, 290 pp. $29.95.
Whether Perkins and Lemmon were lovers remains a mystery, but it is clear that they had a deep affection for and trust in one another. Perkins confided in Lemmon as in no one else, making this collection of letters unique for the depth of personal revelation it offers. The 121 letters from Perkins to Lemmon are believed to be all that he wrote to her; also included are the 20 extant letters from her to him, and a few letters between Lemmon, Louise Perkins, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.
Jonathan Edwards: A Life. By George M. Marsden. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press. 2003. xxi, 615 pp. $35.00.
In this comprehensive biography, Marsden seeks to present the man behind the monument, thoroughly contextualizing Edwards in his times. Marsden is particularly intrigued by Edwards's struggles to reconcile his faith with the tenets of the Enlightenment and his attempt to appreciate the place of French Catholics and Native Americans, with whom Edwards's own British Protestant province was in conflict, in God's plan.
Voice in the Slave Narratives of Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, and Solomon Northrup. By Carver Wendell Waters. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen. 2002. xi, 240 pp. $109.95.
Waters understands voice as the articulation of self, identifying six modes of voice in slave narratives, some of which appear simultaneously. He describes the solipsistic voice as the center of self, from which all other voices emerge. The retrospective voice narrates remembered experiences and may be oriented meditatively inward or propagandistically outward. Voice may take on a simulating tone, ingratiating itself with the reader, or play the trickster, portraying itself to advantage through dissimulation.
American Heretic: Theodore Parker and Transcendentalism. By Dean Grodzins. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press. 2002. xv, 631 pp. $39.95.
Grodzins draws on Parker's eight hundred surviving sermons, several of his anonymous publications, and his letters and journals to produce a detailed account of Parker's life and his contribution to transcendentalism. Grodzins demonstrates the influence of Parker's personal experiences on his philosophy, suggesting, for example, that the decimation of his family left Parker struggling to affirm and explain God's goodness. Grodzins further argues that analyzing transcendentalism through Parker, instead...