For half a century Lydia Maria Child was a household name in the United States. Hardly a sphere of nineteenth-century life can be found in which Lydia Maria Child did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker. Although best known today for having edited Harriet A. Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she pioneered almost every department of nineteenth-century American letters-the historical novel, the short story, children's literature, the domestic advice book, women's history, antislavery fiction, journalism, and the literature of aging. Offering a panoramic view of a nation and culture in flux, this innovative cultural biography (originally published by Duke University Press in 1994) recreates the world as well as the life of a major nineteenth-figure whose career as a writer and social reformer encompassed issues central to American history.
Carolyn L. Karcher is Professor of English, American Studies, and Women's Studies at Temple University.
Illustrations ix Preface and Acknowledgments xi Chronology xix Abbreviations xxvi Prologue: A Passion for Books 1 1. The Author of Hobomok 16 2. Rebels and "Rivals": Self Portraits of a Conflicted Young Artist 38 3. The Juvenile Miscellany: The Creation of an American Children's Literature 57 4. A Marriage of True Minds: Espousing the Indian Cause 80 5. Blighted Prospects: Indian Fiction and Domestic Reality 101 6. The Frugal Housewife: Financial Worries and Domestic Advice 126 7. Children's Literature and Antislavery: Conservative Medium, Radical Message 151 8. "The First Woman in the Republic": An Antislavery Baptism 173 9. An Antislavery Marriage: Careers at Cross Purposes 195 10. The Conditions of Women: Double Binds, Unresolved Conflicts 214 11. Schisms, Personal and Political 249 12. The National Anti-Slavery Standard: Family Newspaper or Factional Organ? 267 13. Letters from New York: The Invention of a New Literary Genre 295 14. Sexuality and Marriage in Fact and Fiction 320 15. The Progress of Religious Ideas: A "Pilgrimage of Pennance" 356 16. Autumnal Leaves: Reconsecrated Partnerships, Personal and Political 384 17. The Example of John Brown 416 18. Child's Civil War 443 19. Visions of a Reconstructed America: The Freedmen's Book and A Romance of the Republic 487 20. A Radical Old Age 532 21. Aspirations of the World 573 Afterword 608 Notes 617 Works of Lydia Maria Child 757 Index 773