Download American Writers in Europe: 1850 to the Present by Ferdâ Asya (eds.) PDF

By Ferdâ Asya (eds.)

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When describing Paul Fane’s encounter with the arrogant Arthur Ashly, for example, Willis has Paul Fane look into the “fatal eye” of the Englishman, who puts the American before a “tribunal” (192), and passes a “verdict” presumably spelling “doom” for the hero (195). Paul Fane’s private grievances and social frictions with other people are depicted as if they were the goings-on in a courtroom drama ending in capital punishment. Such exaggerated language is part and parcel of the production of gossip that revels in the seemingly extraordinary and excessive.

Her departure in 1859 for Great Britain was part of an elaborate plot made possible by Britain’s 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act and devised by Southworth, Bonner, and her London publishers to protect the author’s income. This legislation did not overturn legal coverture, but it did offer married British women, and wives from other nations who met complicated residency requirements, substantial property rights while they resided in the country. Melissa Homestead clarifies the complex legal issue faced by Southworth and other nineteenth-centur y professional women authors in her outstanding book American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822–1869 : Even though [Southworth] remained an American citizen, she could claim copyright in England on the basis of her residence in England at the time of publication, as long as her works were published in England first.

Indeed, her estranged husband had trailed her to Great Britain. He was not interested in getting to know his now-teenage children or reconciling with his wife. He wanted money, and Southworth was obliged to pay him or risk the public scandal of a court challenge for her earnings. Of this severe stress, she wrote obliquely to her New York publisher on July 20, 1860: “My health has just recovered from the shocks and anxieties of the last winter. I almost eschew company until I have completed my novel” (Letter to Robert Bonner, July 20, 1860).

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