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Well Read Lives

Author: Barbara Sicherman
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807833088
Size: 50.86 MB
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In a compelling approach structured as theme and variations, the author offers insightful profiles of a number of accomplished women born in Americas Gilded Age who lost and found themselves in books, and worked out a new life purpose around them. Some wo

The Afterlife Of Little Women

Author: Beverly Lyon Clark
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421415585
Size: 42.63 MB
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The hit Broadway show of 1912; the lost film of 1919; Katharine Hepburn, as Jo, sliding down a banister in George Cukor’s 1933 movie; Mark English’s shimmering 1967 illustrations; Jo—this time played by Sutton Foster—belting "I'll be / astonishing" in the 2004 Broadway musical flop: these are only some of the markers of the afterlife of Little Women. Then there’s the nineteenth-century child who wrote, "If you do not... make Laurie marry Beth, I will never read another of your books as long as I live." Not to mention Miss Manners, a Little Women devotee, who announced that the book taught her an important life lesson: "Although it’s very nice to have two clean gloves, it’s even more important to have a little ink on your fingers." In The Afterlife of Little Women, Beverly Lyon Clark, a leading authority on children’s literature, explores these and other after-tremors, both popular and academic, as she maps the reception of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless novel, first published in 1868. Clark divides her discussion into four historical periods. The first covers the novel’s publication and massive popularity in the late nineteenth century. In the second era—the first three decades of the twentieth century—the novel becomes a nostalgic icon of the domesticity of a previous century, while losing status among the literary and scholarly elite. In its mid-century afterlife (1930–1960), Little Women reaches a low in terms of its critical reputation but remains a well-known piece of Americana within popular culture. The book concludes with a long chapter on Little Women’s afterlife from the 1960s to the present—a period in which the reading of the book seems to decline, while scholarly attention expands dramatically and popular echoes continue to proliferate. Drawing on letters and library records as well as reviews, plays, operas, film and television adaptations, spinoff novels, translations, Alcott biographies, and illustrations, Clark demonstrates how the novel resonates with both conservative family values and progressive feminist ones. She grounds her story in criticism of children’s literature, book history, cultural studies, feminist criticism, and adaptation studies. Written in an accessible narrative style, The Afterlife of Little Women speaks to scholars, librarians, and devoted Alcott fans.

Reading Communities From Salons To Cyberspace

Author: DeNel Rehberg Sedo
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 0230308848
Size: 24.74 MB
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Reading is both a social process and a social formation, as this book illustrates across centuries and cultural contexts. Highlighting links evident in reading communities from literary salons to online environments, each essay reflects the rich repertoire of research methods available to reading scholars.

Until Choice Do Us Part

Author: Clare Virginia Eby
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022608597X
Size: 16.34 MB
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For centuries, people have been thinking and writing—and fiercely debating—about the meaning of marriage. Just a hundred years ago, Progressive era reformers embraced marriage not as a time-honored repository for conservative values, but as a tool for social change. In Until Choice Do Us Part, Clare Virginia Eby offers a new account of marriage as it appeared in fiction, journalism, legal decisions, scholarly work, and private correspondence at the turn into the twentieth century. She begins with reformers like sexologist Havelock Ellis, anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons, and feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who argued that spouses should be “class equals” joined by private affection, not public sanction. Then Eby guides us through the stories of three literary couples—Upton and Meta Fuller Sinclair, Theodore and Sara White Dreiser, and Neith Boyce and Hutchins Hapgood—who sought to reform marriage in their lives and in their writings, with mixed results. With this focus on the intimate side of married life, Eby views a historical moment that changed the nature of American marriage—and that continues to shape marital norms today.

What Would Jesus Read

Author: Erin A. Smith
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469621339
Size: 28.63 MB
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Since the late nineteenth century, religiously themed books in America have been commercially popular yet scorned by critics. Working at the intersection of literary history, lived religion, and consumer culture, Erin A. Smith considers the largely unexplored world of popular religious books, examining the apparent tension between economic and religious imperatives for authors, publishers, and readers. Smith argues that this literature served as a form of extra-ecclesiastical ministry and credits the popularity and longevity of religious books to their day-to-day usefulness rather than their theological correctness or aesthetic quality. Drawing on publishers' records, letters by readers to authors, promotional materials, and interviews with contemporary religious-reading groups, Smith offers a comprehensive study that finds surprising overlap across the religious spectrum--Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish, liberal and conservative. Smith tells the story of how authors, publishers, and readers reconciled these books' dual function as best-selling consumer goods and spiritually edifying literature. What Would Jesus Read? will be of interest to literary and cultural historians, students in the field of print culture, and scholars of religious studies.

Remaking Respectability

Author: Victoria W. Wolcott
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469611007
Size: 41.79 MB
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In the early decades of the twentieth century, tens of thousands of African Americans arrived at Detroit's Michigan Central Station, part of the Great Migration of blacks who left the South seeking improved economic and political conditions in the urban North. The most visible of these migrants have been the male industrial workers who labored on the city's automobile assembly lines. African American women have largely been absent from traditional narratives of the Great Migration because they were excluded from industrial work. By placing these women at the center of her study, Victoria Wolcott reveals their vital role in shaping life in interwar Detroit. Wolcott takes us into the speakeasies, settlement houses, blues clubs, storefront churches, employment bureaus, and training centers of Prohibition- and depression-era Detroit. There, she explores the wide range of black women's experiences, focusing particularly on the interactions between working- and middle-class women. As Detroit's black population grew exponentially, women not only served as models of bourgeois respectability, but also began to reshape traditional standards of deportment in response to the new realities of their lives. In so doing, Wolcott says, they helped transform black politics and culture. Eventually, as the depression arrived, female respectability as a central symbol of reform was supplanted by a more strident working-class activism.