Just as she helped launch the rediscovery of literary texts by American women writers, Nina Baym now uncovers the work of history performed by over 150 writers in over 350 texts. Here she explores a world of important writing unknown even to most specialists. The novels, poems, plays, textbooks, and travel narratives written by women between 1790 and the Civil War defy current theories of women’s writing that stress a female domain of the private, homebound, and emotional. History is inarguably public in its nature and these women wrote it. In doing so, they challenged the imaginative and intellectual boundaries that divided domestic and public worlds. They claimed on behalf of all women the rights to know and to speak about the world outside the home, as well as to circulate their knowledge and opinions among the public. Their work helped shape the enormous public interest in history characteristic of the antebellum nation, and ultimately to forge our national identity in the history of the world. Nina Baym deftly outlines the master narrative of history implied in women’s writings of this period, and discusses in a completely revisioned context the emergence of women’s history in public discourse.
Literature-Fiction, United-States, Classics,