Illinois Women Novelists at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago

Dr. Bernice E. Gallagher
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These works have distinctive features that show aspects of the female experience not revealed in better-known works by male authors. They also support the view that women's novels of this time and place provide a kind of bridge between the old place of community in homogeneous, isolated localities and the new circumstances of heterogeneity and national consolidation. Women responded to experience by writing about it from their own special perspective, and in many instances their work presented new, even revolutionary, possiblities. The fiction of the Illinois women is important as social record since it provides an important example of the way a culture thinks, speaks and plans for itself at a particular historical moment. Plots and characters provided readers with ways of thinking about themselves, tried to define certain aspects of the social reality that author and reader shared, dramatized conflicts, and offered various solutions to life's dilemmas. In addition, these novels challenge the boundaries of the literary canon. They are serious works of art that call the assumptions of the second half of the nineteenth century, and our own assumptions about it, into question.

Keywords: Illinois, Women, Novelists, at, the, 1893, World's, Columbian, Exposition, in, Chicago
Stream: Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Illinois Women Novelists at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago

Dr. Bernice E. Gallagher

Chair of American Studies and Director of Writing Programs, English Department -, Lake Forest College

Bernice E. Gallagher has taught at Lake Forest College since 1984 and lectures widely on nineteenth century American women fiction writers, most recently at the American Studies Annual International Meeting in Washington, D.C., November 3-6, 2005. She has published on a variety of topics to include an article entitled Illinois Women's Fiction at the Woman's Building Library, which will appear in the Winter 2006 edition of Libraries and Culture, a University of Texas publication dedicated to examining the history of libraries around the world, how they are influenced by and in turn exert influence on their cultures. Dr. Gallagher is currently working on a biography of Mary Hartwell Catherwood, late nineteenth century America's best-selling female author of historical romances.

Ref: A06P0189