Abstract

This article discusses Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s 1870 novel Hedged In in the context of the emergence of American literary realism in opposition to the antebellum “romance,” particularly as that form was the vehicle through which high-cultural authorship was both established and established as male. I argue that reading the novel as a rewriting of the most venerable exemplar of the romance tradition, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, suggests that the contours of realism’s emergence made it attractive to a woman writer precisely because the genre seemed to exist beyond antebellum models of gendered authorship, providing a venue in which the portrayal of social—even religious—concerns did not preclude a claim to the talent and ambition of an artist.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1512
Print ISSN
0039-3827
Pages
pp. 43-64
Launched on MUSE
2016-03-02
Open Access
No
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