Hagar’s Daughter is Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins’s first serial novel, published in the Boston-based Colored American Magazine (1901-02). The novel features concealed and mistaken identities, dramatic revelations, and extraordinary plot twists, including a high-profile murder trial, an abduction plot, and a steady succession of surprises as the young black maid Venus Johnson assumes male clothing to solve a series of mysteries. Because Hagar’s Daughter demonstrates Hopkins’s keen sense of history, use of multiple literary genres, emphasis on gender roles, and political engagement, it provides the perfect introduction to the author and her era.
In the appendices to this Broadview Edition, advertising, other writing by Hopkins and her contemporaries, and reviews situate the work within the popular literature and political culture of its time.
“John Cullen Gruesser and Alisha R. Knight have recovered a new American classic by novelist and Colored American Magazine editor Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins. Hagar’s Daughter has it all: political intrigue, murder mystery, star-crossed romance, slave rebellion, and civil war history. A cogent introduction and relevant appendices provide excellent context for both the novice and scholar alike to appreciate the tumultuous US landscape navigated by Hopkins and her peers. The editors’ insightful inclusion of Hopkins’s selected nonfiction and her short story ‘Talma Gordon’ allow for a synergistic reading experience akin to how contemporaneous readers would have encountered the novel in its initial serial form alongside its original, iconic illustrations. This meticulously crafted edition enables a new generation to appreciate one of the most prolific and innovative Black women writers of the early twentieth century.” — Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
“This deliberately curated modern edition of Hagar's Daughter provides a rich contextual literary, social, and historical backdrop for one of Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins's most engrossing novels. Readers, students, and teachers alike will be engrossed by the novel itself and enriched by the illuminating primary and secondary materials that reveal the challenges of race, prejudice, and family in post-bellum America and illuminate Hopkins's far-reaching creative genius.” — Lois Brown, Arizona State University