Elizabeth Stoddard combines the narrative style of the popular nineteenth-century male-centered bildungsroman with the conventions of women's romantic fiction in this revolutionary exploration of the conflict between a woman's instinct, passion, and will, and the social taboos, family allegiances, and traditional New England restraint that inhibit her. Set in a small seaport town (1862), The Morgesons is the dramatic story of Cassandra Morgeson's fight against social and religious norms in a quest for sexual, spiritual, and economic autonomy. An indomitable heroine, Cassandra not only achieves an equal and complete love with her husband and ownership of her family's property, but also masters the skills and accomplishments expected of women.
Counterpointed with the stultified lives of her aunt, mother, and sister, Cassandra's success is a striking and radical affirmation of women's power to shape their own destinies. Embodying the convergence of the melodrama and sexual undercurrents of gothic romance and Victorian social realism, The Morgesons marks an important transition in the development of the novel and evoked comparisons during Stoddard's lifetime with such masters as Balzac, Tolstoy, Eliot, the Brontes, and Hawthorne.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - thatotter - LibraryThing
A strange book, and one I'm surprised isn't more widely read. Not even 50 ratings on goodreads? It's definitely worthy of more attention. I saw it compared to Bronte and Gaskell, and while it ... Read full review
I Prior Bibliographies
Early Reminiscences and Assessments
Biography and Criticism
Other editions - View all
Adelaide Alice answered asked Aunt Merce Barmouth Barstow beautiful began Belem Ben’s Bildungsroman blue bonnet called candle Cassandra Cassy chair CHAPTER Charlotte Alden Colby College dark Desmond door dress Edmund Clarence Stedman Elizabeth Akers Allen Elizabeth Stoddard eyes face Fanny father feel felt fingers fire flowers friends gave girl gone Grand’ther Grandfather hair hand handkerchief handsome head heard Helen Hepburn Hepsey horses James Matlack kissed knew laughed Lawrence Buell leave letter literary Locke Morgeson looked married Mercy Milford Miss Black Miss Morgeson morning mother Munster never night novels o’clock opened pale parlor Pickersgill porringer replied Rosville round shook silent Somers soon stay stood supper Surrey talk tell Temperance There’s thought told took turned Veronica Verry voice wait walk whispered window woman