The Morgesons

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Penguin, Sep 1, 1997 - Fiction - 304 pages
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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.


 

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Contents

I Prior Bibliographies
Early Reminiscences and Assessments
Biography and Criticism
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Lawrence Buell has written two critical-historical books on nineteenth-century New England writing, Literary Transcendentalism and New England Literary Culture, as well as numerous articles and reviews. He has also edited a collection of the poetry of Walt Whitman and co-edited an anthology of the works of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard. He is currently Professor and Chairman of the English Department of Oberlin College.

Lawrence Buell has written two critical-historical books on nineteenth-century New England writing, Literary Transcendentalism and New England Literary Culture, as well as numerous articles and reviews. He has also edited a collection of the poetry of Walt Whitman and co-edited an anthology of the works of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard. He is currently Professor and Chairman of the English Department of Oberlin College.

Lawrence Buell has written two critical-historical books on nineteenth-century New England writing, Literary Transcendentalism and New England Literary Culture, as well as numerous articles and reviews. He has also edited a collection of the poetry of Walt Whitman and co-edited an anthology of the works of Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard. He is currently Professor and Chairman of the English Department of Oberlin College.

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