The Story of Avis
Rutgers University Press, 1985 - Biography & Autobiography - 278 pages
One of the most prolific and popular American writers of her time, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps is, nearly a century later, once more coming to be considered a major author. The Story of Avis, her most ambitious and successful novel, has long been out of print and will prove a revelation to modern readers. Avis is the story of a larger-than-life heroine, a promising artist, who against her better judgment is persuaded by her lover, Philip Ostrander--a "new man"--to marry. The failure of their modern marriage, and in due course of Avis's career, is inevitable. Phelps depicts the turmoil of her characters' inner lives with great sensitivity and with a skill that is striking. A feminist who clearly saw the constraints of traditional gender roles upon women and men, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps was ahead of her own time in post-Civil War America. She remains highly readable today. "The Story of Avis (1877) will shock any reader who still thinks nineteenth-century American women's fiction is sentimental and pious. This novel is angry, not sentimental; iconoclastic, not pious; it concerns a talented and dedicated painter whose marriage destroys her genius."--Choice "This ornately articulate novel is playful; both kind and hopeful in its vision of the female conundrum. . . . I had intended to speed read [it]. I ready every word."--Joyce Bright, Belles Lettres
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arms artist asked aunt Chloe Aurora Leigh Austin Phelps Avis's baby Barbara Barbara Allen bird breath Carol Farley chap CHAPTER child color creature cried daughter dear delicate Elizabeth Cady Stanton Elizabeth Stuart Phelps eyes face fancy father feeling fell felt gently George Eliot girl gone hand happy Harmouth head heart Hegel human husband instinct John Rose kiss knew lady leaning lifted light lips live looked Louisa May Alcott mamma marriage married Middlemarch morning mother nature never night novel once Ostrander's passion perhaps Phelps's Philip Ostrander picture poor portrait pretty professor seemed shadow silence slowly smile sorry soul sphinx spoke stir stood Story of Avis strong studio suppose sweet talk tell tender thing thought tion told tone touch trander true woman turned voice watched wife woman women words young