CFP: [American] call for papers on Maria Cummins for 2008 ALA

full name / name of organization: 
Steven L. Hamelman
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“Maria Susanna Cummins: A ‘Scribbling Woman’ Reconsidered.” In writing The
Lamplighter (1854) Maria Cummins achieved two memorable feats: she wrote
one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth-century, and she inspired
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s notorious condemnation of the “d——d mob of
scribbling women” whose “trash” was devoured by the masses. Cummins’s
other three novels, while not as popular, were perhaps also less “trashy”
for Hawthorne, if by this we mean they were increasingly dark and
conflicted in psychological and political terms. While all four of
Cummins’s novels are grounded in the era’s taste for sympathy and
sentiment, their artistic polish barely conceals Cummins’s struggle with
contemporary issues no less urgent than those that preoccupied pessimistic
male writers like Hawthorne. This panel invites papers that penetrate the
paradoxes and aporias lying just below the surface of sentiment in four
novels that, while seeming on first glance conventional in theme and tone,
contain knotty reflections on race, class, gender, art, language, and
other facets of nineteenth-century American culture. Steven Hamelman,
Department of English, Coastal Carolina University,

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Received on Fri Sep 07 2007 - 07:58:59 EDT

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