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New PDF release: Before They Could Vote: American Women's Autobiographical

By Sidonie A. Smith, Julia Watson

The lifestyles narratives during this assortment are through ethnically assorted ladies of strength and ambition - a few renowned, a few forgotten over generations - who faced boundaries of gender, type, race, and sexual distinction as they pursued or tailored to adventurous new lives in a speedily altering the USA. The enticing decisions - from captivity narratives to letters, manifestos, legal confessions, and formative years sketches - span 100 years within which girls more and more asserted themselves publicly. a few rose to positions of prominence as writers, activists, and artists; a few sought schooling or wrote to help themselves and their households; a few transgressed social norms looking for new probabilities. every one woman's tale is strikingly person, but the short narratives during this anthology jointly chart daring new visions of women's corporation.

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Extra info for Before They Could Vote: American Women's Autobiographical Writing, 1819-1919 (Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography)

Example text

Her recollection and memory exceeded my expectation. It cannot be reasonably supposed, that a person of her age has kept the events of seventy years in so complete a chain as to be able to assign to each its proper time and place; she, however, made her recital with as few obvious mistakes as might be found in that of a person of fifty. She walks with a quick step without a staff, and I was informed by Mr. Clute, that she could yet cross a stream on a log or pole as steadily as any other person.

Even when these women reflect on domestic life in the home, they do so as accomplished writers, not simply recalling an early life but telling stories about coming of age as a process of encountering and negotiating constraints of gendered, sexual, and ethnic difference. These narratives foreground the continually fluid, and at times migratory, social locations occupied by American women during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They also expose the variety and the vagaries of becoming American and the gendered and racialized identities subsumed in the national narrative.

For critiques of the separate spheres argument, see Dana Nelson and Cathy N. Davidson and Jessamyn Hatcher. 11. For an exploration of twenty years of critical work on women’s autobiographical practice and an extensive introduction on the modes of theorizing women’s life writing, see our Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader. 12. See Laura L. Bush, Faithful Transgressions in the American West: Six TwentiethCentury American Mormon Women’s Autobiographical Acts. ” She was born in November 1799 in Mount Pleasant, New York.

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