American Women Writers and the Work of History, 1790-1860
Rutgers University Press, 1995 - American fiction - 307 pages
Just as she helped launch the rediscovery of literary texts by American women writers, Nina Baym now uncovers the work of history performed by over 150 writers in over 350 texts. Here she explores a world of important writing unknown even to most specialists. The novels, poems, plays, textbooks, and travel narratives written by women between 1790 and the Civil War defy current theories of women's writing that stress a female domain of the private, homebound, and emotional. History is inarguably public in its nature and these women wrote it. In doing so, they challenged the imaginative and intellectual boundaries that divided domestic and public worlds. They claimed on behalf of all women the rights to know and to speak about the world outside the home, as well as to circulate their knowledge and opinions among the public. Their work helped shape the enormous public interest in history characteristic of the antebellum nation, and ultimately to forge our national identity in the history of the world. Nina Baym deftly outlines the master narrative of history implied in women's writings of this period, and discusses in a completely revisioned context the emergence of women's history in public discourse.
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Ladies who read history , says the Lady ' s Book , will acquire knowledge “ which
can be used for the happiness and benefit of themselves and others , rather than
to become learned for display or renown ” ( 34 : 315 ) . Display and renown are ...
They will then become an integral part of the American republic , and that
republic , though no longer purely white , will be purely Christian . Traits
continually uses references from world history to heroicize the Native Americans
The book also instructs readers that although the Indians are destined by Heaven
to lose their “ identity as a people , " some of them no doubt “ will accept the
advantages of civilization ” ( 112 ) and become citizens of the United States .
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AMERICAN WOMEN WRITERS AND THE WORK OF HISTORY, 1790-1860User Review - Kirkus
By revealing women's use of history in the making of it, Baym rebuts conventional wisdom about women's absence from national life in antebellum America. Baym (English/Univ. of Illinois, Champaign ... Read full review
Women as Students of History II
Maternal Historians Didactic Mothers
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