Reviews the careers and contributions of more than 70 nineteenth-century American women writers, including Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Emma Lazarus, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
As the American literary canon has undergone revision and expansion in recent years, the influence of women writers of the nineteenth century has been reevaluated. The first book of its kind, this reference provides alphabetically arranged entries for more than 70 nineteenth-century American women writers, such as Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Emma Lazarus, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Each entry is written by an expert contributor and includes a biography, a discussion of the author's major works and themes, an overview of the critical studies examining the writer's works, and a bibliography of works for further consultation.
The nineteenth century gave birth to some of the richest works in American literature. For decades, nineteenth-century authors such as Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman have been considered the dominant figures of the period, and other writers have received much less attention. But the scope and focus of American literary studies has shifted dramatically in recent years, and mainstream anthologies have been revised to reflect changes in the canon. One of the most exciting changes has been the reassessment of the contributions of American women writers of the nineteenth century. Some of these women, such as Louisa May Alcott and Harriet Beecher Stowe, are fairly well known. Others, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman, have been the subject of much recent critical attention. But despite the resurgence of interest in American women writers of the nineteenth century, resources for readers have remained widely scattered.
This reference book is the first work of its kind to offer comprehensive entries on more than 70 American women writers who published during the nineteenth century. Featuring authors who have long been assimilated into the literary canon as well as once-popular writers who have largely been forgotten, this volume invites a critical reassessment of the contributions of these writers to American literary history. Entries are written by expert contributors and are arranged alphabetically to facilitate access. Each entry includes a biographical sketch, a discussion of the writer's major works and themes, an overview of the critical response to the writer, and a bibliography of works by and about the writer. To encourage additional research, the volume closes with a bibliography of significant studies of nineteenth-century American women writers.