Reconciling Sentimental and Radical Tendencies in the Life and Work of Fanny Fern: Her Influence on Women Newspaper Columnists
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Margaret Judith Sullivan
Far more than a conventional Victorian woman whose premature widowhood and single-motherhood compelled her to seek employment as a sentimental journalist, Fanny Fern is a both a representative of typical nineteenth-century women’s journalism and literature and a literary mentor to later generations of women novelists, poets, and newspaper columnists. While the historical records suggest that duality and contradiction characterized her private life, and the available literature demonstrates a similar dichotomy in her writing – a tension between the sentimentalism prevalent in women’s writing of the Victorian era, and the sarcasm and feminism beginning to surface near the nineteenth-century’s end – Fern, by utilizing accepted convention as a vehicle for promoting reform, managed to constructively reconcile the obvious contradictions in both her life and literature.
Roth, Valerie, "Reconciling Sentimental and Radical Tendencies in the Life and Work of Fanny Fern: Her Influence on Women Newspaper Columnists" (2009). Master of Arts in English Theses. 3.
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