Women and 19th Century Literature

If a person knows how to write, they will write something. A shopping list, letter, journal, recipe, book, novel, thesis paper. Through the centuries, women had written, but they didn’t always receive much attention or much help from publishers. In mid-19th Century America, a change started to occur in attitudes toward women, writing, and publishing. Against this backdrop, fictional character Susan Rose Arnold scribbles poetry, wonders if someday it could be published, and meets a woman who regularly writes for publications.

“Miss Shermann,” I said as I guided her up to her room after the evening meal, “what do you write? If you don’t mind my question.” She had perfect manners and the most fascinating way of controlling the conversation at the table, without seeming to be in charge.

“It depends,” she replied, smiling. “Sometimes short stories. Sometimes information about travel or the impracticality of these beautiful ladies’ fashions. Anything I can sell to a newspaper or magazine.” (Lighthouse Loyalty, Chapter 18)

Today, we’ll highlight some mid-19th Century female authors and the changing world of publishing.  Continue reading

Martha Finley: Sharing Faith Through Literature

Miss Martha Finley

Miss Martha Finley

Every person – every writer – has a belief system and a world view which will influence their actions, thoughts, and writing. That belief system and worldview can be rooted in various religions or philosophies – Christian, humanist, feminism, naturalistic, etc. etc. etc. If you are a discerning reader, it is important to know what the worldview and belief system the author held to so you can evaluate their writing carefully.

Martha Finley – the American authoress featured today – firmly proclaimed her belief in God and the Bible throughout her life and her writing. Though her stories are almost unknown in modern times, she was one of the best selling authors of the 19th Century. Her stories follow young women and their families through adventures, joys, and trials, and were an inspiration to thousands of ladies in a bygone era. Continue reading

Louisa May Alcott: Writing The Story Of Her Youth

Louisa May Alcott (1850's)

Louisa May Alcott (1850’s)

A common rule that writers hear is: write what you know. That’s supposed to mean authors will tell their most powerful stories about events, places, and people they are familiar with. And – whether they’ll admit it or not – most writers do follow the rule to some extent. One particular American authoress based her best-selling novel on her childhood adventures, and the world has been captivated with the charming tale since the first publication.

Louisa May Alcott chose to be a professional writer in mid-19th Century America, an era when that was not a typical choice for a lady. In an ironic twist, this self-proclaimed feminist wrote one of the most well-known books about the traditional roles of girls and women. Her famous novel – Little Women – is still in publication and several movie versions have been made. Continue reading