When Ruth Hall was originally published in 1855, it caused a sensation. In it, Fanny Fern (Sara Payson Willis Parton) portrays a mid-nineteenth-century woman who realizes the American Dream solely on her own becoming the incarnation of the American individualist-regarded at that time as a role designed exclusively for men. Based on the author's ...
When Ruth Hall was originally published in 1855, it caused a sensation. In it, Fanny Fern (Sara Payson Willis Parton) portrays a mid-nineteenth-century woman who realizes the American Dream solely on her own becoming the incarnation of the American individualist-regarded at that time as a role designed exclusively for men. Based on the author's life, the novel reflects her spirit of practical feminism-that a woman was only truly independent when she was financially independent.Fanny Fern was one of the most popular American writers of the mid-nineteenth century, the first woman newspaper columnist in the United States, and the most highly paid newspaper writer of her day. This volume gathers together for the first time almost one hundred selections of her best work as a journalist. Writing on such taboo subjects as prostitution, venereal disease, divorce, and birth control, Fern stripped the facade of convention from some of society's most sacred institutions, targeting cant and hypocrisy, pretentiousness and pomp.Fern portrays a mid-nineteenth century woman who becomes the incarnartion of the American individualist, something regarded as exclusively for men.
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Publishers Weekly, 1986-04-18 Fanny Fern was the half-mocking nom de plume of Sara Willis, one of the most popular and well-paid newspaper columnists in the U.S. when Ruth Hall was first published in 1854. The sketchy plot and character development and brevity of the chapters attest to Fern's journalistic background, but the novel's depth of emotion and gritty portrayal of the depredations of poverty make up for its literary shortcomings. The eponymous heroine is particularly refreshing: unlike many central female characters of the time, she is not punished for taking command of her own life. Even more stirring than the novel is the selection of newspaper columns, most of which are as pertinent today as they were 120 years ago. (May)
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