A Lydia Maria Child Reader

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Duke University Press, 1997 - Literary Collections - 453 pages
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From the 1820s to the 1870s, Lydia Maria Child was as familiar to the American public as her Thanksgiving song, "Over the river and through the wood, / To grandfather’s house we go," remains today. Hardly a sphere of nineteenth-century life can be found in which Child did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker. She crusaded against slavery and racism, combated religious bigotry, championed women’s rights, publicized the plight of the urban poor, and campaigned for justice toward Native Americans. Showing an uncanny ability to pinpoint and respond to new cultural needs, Child pioneered almost every category of nineteenth-century American letters—historical fiction, the short story, children’s literature, the domestic advice book, women’s history, antislavery fiction, journalism, and the literature of aging.
This rich collection is the first to represent the full range of Child’s contributions as a literary innovator, social reformer, and progressive thinker over a career spanning six decades. It features stories, editorials, articles, and letters to politicians culled from rare newspapers and periodicals and never before published in book form; extracts from her trailblazing childrearing manual, history of women, and primer for the emancipated slaves; and a generous sampling of her best-known writings on slavery, the Indian question, poverty, and women’s rights. Witty, incisive, and often daringly unconventional, Child’s writings open a panoramic window on nineteenth-century American culture while addressing issues still relevant to our own time. In this anthology, the editor of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl reemerges in her own right as one of the nation’s greatest prophets.

 

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Contents

Introduction
11
Suggestions for Classroom Use and Explanation
20
Childrens Literature and Domestic Advice
97
Slavery Race and Reconstruction
135
in Relation to This Subject
160
Introduction
297
Slaverys Pleasant Homes A Faithful Sketch 238
302
Letters from New York Number 14
314
A HighFlying Letter
328
Sexuality and the Woman Question
335
Religion
415
Suggestions for Further Reading
435
Index
445
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Carolyn L. Karcher is Professor of English, American studies, and women's studies at Temple University and author of The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child also published by Duke University Press.

Visit the website for the film The Life and Times of Lydia Maria Child.

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