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By Lynn Mahoney

This publication strains Stoddard's emergence as a author within the 1850s, her conflict-ridden relationships with the writers linked to the genteel culture, and her efforts to barter the limits of Victorian tradition within the usa. whereas in lots of methods a critic of nineteenth-century bourgeois tradition, Stoddard remained in alternative ways an adherent; her paintings was once now not a rejection of bourgeois tradition yet a transforming of it, which implies that bourgeois tradition used to be now not as monolithic as later critics believed. improving the richness and hazard that characterised early Victorian writing, this e-book examines the variety of literary expression which had existed at mid-century, a interval that boasts a few of American literature's such a lot iconoclastic voices.

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The evangelical revivals of her childhood had left her cold, and the doctrinaire minister of her family’s church had failed to inspire her. She never embraced the evangelical optimism of many of her contemporaries. Unabashedly “irreligious,” the ideals of self-control and social perfectionism held no sway for her. She was unsure they were even attainable. “The active and energetic ghosts of the passions pursue us incessantly,” she wrote in 1856. ” Stoddard sympathized with her readers’ needs for religious understanding and selfimprovement, but poked fun at the bourgeois institutions created for these purposes.

California presented a clear contrast to the “puritanic flavor” of New England. It was untainted by the repressive cast of New England. “San Francisco nature is genuine,” she informed her readers. ” According to Stoddard’s eyewitnesses, everything and everyone there were larger than life. Vegetables grew larger, and the people were more spontaneous. But Stoddard feared that this would not always be so. She warned her readers against appeals to self-control and self-reform. ”39 While her dispatches to the Alta were not nearly as intimate as her letters to Margaret Sweat, Stoddard did touch on personal subjects.

They share some electric glances, until, intoxicated with Margaret’s perfume, Redmond confesses that his wife is dead. 26 Harry, fearing that he has lost Margaret, visits her the next morning to ask her to marry him. She asks him not to. He has “pursued” her “patiently,” and she likes him. ’” Harry realizes that “‘the long-smothered fire has broken out again’” and leaves. With Margaret’s sexuality reawakened, the story moves to its conclusion. Redmond writes Margaret describing his wife’s death, his obligation to his aunt, and his current freedom.

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