By Leonard Unger
Covers Jane Addams to Sidney Lanier
Read Online or Download American Writers Supplement I, Parts 1 & 2 PDF
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Extra resources for American Writers Supplement I, Parts 1 & 2
Yet Alcott was as much a local crank as an activist reformist. A child of the Concord renaissance, her mentors were of course her father, Bronson Alcott, and his friends Ralph Waldo 28 LOUISA MAY ALCOTT I 29 Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and other luminaries of the transcendentalist group. Alcott's growing bitterness at what she felt was the provincial high-talking and small-mindedness of Concord helps illustrate how confining that center of the American Renaissance could seem to a nonconforming feminist spirit.
But her success is short-lived, and it soons seems that her various deceptions will be publicly exposed. In a brilliant race against time, Jean secures the affection and hand of the chivalrous elderly uncle of the house. She sweeps out of her fictive kingdom in triumph, leaving her detractors permanently silenced by her new status—a victory, one notes, seldom granted her English counterparts. Much interests Alcott about the plot of deception. In a patriarchal society deception can be a means for women to infiltrate a closed world and get from it what they want: Jean wins her game because she fakes the lineage without which no wealthy well-bred man would marry her.
The material in many of the chapters had appeared earlier. The variations on old themes were less sharply delineated, less melodious, the prose less disciplined, the pace not so much leisurely as meandering. Addams still wrote in the major key, with here and there a minor chord: Even if we, the elderly, have nothing to report but sordid compromises, nothing to offer but a disconcerting acknowledgment that life has marked us with its slow stain, it is still better to define our position. With all our errors thick upon us, we may at least be entitled to the comfort of Plato's intimation that truth itself may be discovered by honest reminiscence.
American Writers Supplement I, Parts 1 & 2 by Leonard Unger