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Books Unbound

Un-silencing voices of writers who embody the courage of free expression.

Books Unbound – “American Girls Horror Stories, Part Two: The Host”

A cultural horror of women’s bodies is the theme of the second episode of “American Girls Horror Stories,” juxtaposing two 19th-century American ghost stories and contemporary poems on birth, female rites of passage, mother and child relations, anorexia and suicide. The title alludes to a remark made by a Virginia state senator in 2014 in a debate over reproductive privacy …

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Books Unbound – American Girls Horror Stories: ‘Darkwater’ by W.E.B. Du Bois

A month of sci-fi, fantasy, gothic, and horror begins with two stories from W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1920 collection Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil. Du Bois (1868–1963) is one of the outstanding figures of American literature in the first half of the 20th century, and a prominent voice on African American issues. Du Bois was also an advocate for feminism, …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Conclusion: ‘Two Men,’ Chapters 33-38

Marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War, Books Unbound’s summer series “Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s” concludes with the final chapters of the novel Two Men. Writing during the war, Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) set her novel in the antebellum period—probably the 1840s—and published it a few weeks after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Throughout, Stoddard has …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Twelve: ‘Two Men,’ Chapters 29-32

The Civil War-era novel Two Men by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) heads into its final chapters. Spoiled by what we now label “white male privilege,” the heir to a Mayflower family fortune loses his prestige after an interracial love affair turns to tragedy. Following the death of the matriarch, his departure threatens the continuation of the family dynasty. Stoddard’s solution to …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Eleven: ‘Two Men,’ Chapters 26–29

The death of the matriarch and the return of the family adventurer casts the future of the Parke dynasty in doubt, while an interracial love affair turns to tragedy, in this episode of the Civil War-era novel Two Men by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902). Stoddard’s three novels, all published in the 1860s, were overshadowed by the war and stylistically ahead of …

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Books Unbound – Bread and Roses: Workers’ Rights A Century Ago

Speeches and poetry of the labor movement in the 1910s are featured in the Books Unbound Labor Day weekend special “Bread and Roses”. “Bread and roses!” was a rallying cry that originated around 1911. It first appeared in literary form in a poem of that title by James Oppenheim, who was inspired by versions of the phrase on banners carried …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Ten: ‘Two Men,’ Chapters 22–26

Set in antebellum New England but published in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War, the novel Two Men begins to draw together the narrative strands of the Parke family saga with a death, a scandal, and a surprise visitor. Combining a Romantic’s headstrong individuality with a strikingly modern Realist psychology, Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) rejected the prevailing mode of …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Nine: ‘Two Men’ Chapters 18-22

The novel Two Men continues as rumor spreads of a Parke family heir’s affair with a biracial woman. The compressed, elliptical and sometimes satiric style of American contrarian Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) expresses the tensions and anxieties of the Civil War era in its themes of race, family bloodlines, class, sectarian religion, gender roles, and regional and national identity. This complex …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Eight: ‘Two Men’ Chapters 14-18

Two Men, the second novel by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902), is a family saga published in 1865, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. In this week’s episode, the arrival of the three women of the Lang family brings the theme of race to the forefront. Mrs. Lang is the former mistress of a white slaveholder who has sent her …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Seven: ‘Two Men’ Chapters 10–14

Two Men, the second novel by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902), is a family saga published in 1865, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, but is set before the war. In this episode, a visit from Philippa’s attractive college friend reveals Parke as a ladies’ man, and prompts other family members to recognize their own desires. The theme of race …

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