A Lydia Maria Child Reader

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Duke University Press, 1997 - Literary Collections - 453 pages
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From the 1820s to the 1870s, Lydia Maria Child was as familiar to the American public as her Thanksgiving song, "Over the river and through the wood, / To grandfather’s house we go," remains today. Hardly a sphere of nineteenth-century life can be found in which Child did not figure prominently as a pathbreaker. She crusaded against slavery and racism, combated religious bigotry, championed women’s rights, publicized the plight of the urban poor, and campaigned for justice toward Native Americans. Showing an uncanny ability to pinpoint and respond to new cultural needs, Child pioneered almost every category of nineteenth-century American letters—historical fiction, the short story, children’s literature, the domestic advice book, women’s history, antislavery fiction, journalism, and the literature of aging.
This rich collection is the first to represent the full range of Child’s contributions as a literary innovator, social reformer, and progressive thinker over a career spanning six decades. It features stories, editorials, articles, and letters to politicians culled from rare newspapers and periodicals and never before published in book form; extracts from her trailblazing childrearing manual, history of women, and primer for the emancipated slaves; and a generous sampling of her best-known writings on slavery, the Indian question, poverty, and women’s rights. Witty, incisive, and often daringly unconventional, Child’s writings open a panoramic window on nineteenth-century American culture while addressing issues still relevant to our own time. In this anthology, the editor of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl reemerges in her own right as one of the nation’s greatest prophets.

  

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Contents

Suggestions for Classroom Use and Explanation
20
Childrens Literature and Domestic Advice
97
Introduction
135
Jumbo and Zairee
153
Prejudices against People of Color and Our Duties
160
in Relation to This Subject
182
To Abolitionists
192
Annette Gray
200
Letters from New York Number 1
306
Letters from New York Number 14
314
A HighFlying Letter
328
Introduction
335
Extracts from African Women
343
Speaking in the Church
354
Uncollected Letter from NewYork
365
Hilda Silfverling A Fantasy
374

Letters from NewYork Number 12
209
The Iron Shroud
216
Talk about Political Party
223
Letters from NewYork Number 33
230
Slaverys Pleasant Homes A Faithful Sketch
238
Introduction
297
Woman and Suffrage
396
Extracts from Concerning Women
411
The Intermingling of Religions
419
Suggestions for Further Reading
435
Index
445
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

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Carolyn L. Karcher is Professor of English, American studies, and women’s studies at Temple University and author of The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child also published by Duke University Press.

Visit the website for the film The Life and Times of Lydia Maria Child.

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