Fanny Fern dominated the New York literary scene in the 1850s, garnering both esteem and, occasionally, derision for her witty and acerbic newspaper columns and literary criticism; her semi-autobiographical novel Ruth Hall, which traces the rise of an intelligent and determined young woman from poverty to prestige through her pursuit of a writing career, was one of America’s most significant early bestsellers. Fern’s use of informal, vibrantly conversational prose and her abundant colloquialisms marked an important shift in the established literary conventions of nineteenth-century fiction and journalism. This compact edition collects some of Fern’s most frequently taught journalism—much of which focuses on the changing roles of women in nineteenth-century America—along with excerpts from Ruth Hall.
This volume is one of a number of editions that have been drawn from the pages of the acclaimed Broadview Anthology of American Literature; like the others, it is designed to make a range of material from the anthology available in a format convenient for use in a wide variety of contexts.
COMMENTS ON The Broadview Anthology of American Literature
“The expansion, diversification, and revitalization of the texts and terms of American literary history in recent years is made marvelously accessible in the … new Broadview Anthology of American Literature.” — Hester Blum, Penn State University
“The Broadview Anthology of American Literature is, quite simply, a breakthrough. … Meticulously researched and expertly assembled, this anthology should be the new gold standard for scholars and teachers alike.” — Michael D’Alessandro, Duke University
“So much thought has been put into every aspect of the Broadview Anthology of American Literature, from the selection of texts to their organization to their presentation on the page; it will be a gift to classrooms for years to come.” — Lara Langer Cohen, Swarthmore College
“The multiplicity of early American locations, languages, and genres is here on wondrous display.” — Jordan Alexander Stein, Fordham University
“Above all, this is a volume for the 21st century. … Its capaciousness and ample resource materials make for a text that is always evolving and meeting its readers in new ways.” — Russ Castronovo, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“a rich collection that reflects the diversity of American literatures…. [and] that never forgets its most important audience: students. There is a wealth of material here that will help them imagine and reimagine what American literature could be.” — Michael C. Cohen, UCLA