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Books Unbound

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

Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Six: ‘Two Men’ Chapters 6-9

Two Men, the second novel by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902), was published in 1865, in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, but is set before the war. Reviews were either mixed, recognizing the originality of her talent but faulting her preoccupations and technique, or hostile to the point of irrationality: Stoddard’s worst critics—all male—found it difficult to accept her undermining …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Five: ‘Two Men’ Chapters 3-5

The New England family saga Two Men continues as the patriarch dies and a long-lost heir visits briefly—leaving his 10-year-old daughter, Philippa, to be reared among the Parkes. Appointed as her guardian, the honest carpenter Jason Auster, who has married the female heir to the estate, finds his socialist ideals compromised by his new responsibilities for maintaining the family wealth, …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Four: ‘Two Men’ Begins

Two Men, the second novel by Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902), was published in 1865, a mere two months after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Women were prolific writers of fiction during the 1860s, and have also left abundant letters and diaries, but masculinist notions of what constitutes “war writing” have given an incomplete picture of American literature in the crucial decade of …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Three: Absence

Books Unbound resumes the summer series “Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s” after an Independence Day break, with two short stories by this lesser-known innovator in American women’s fiction. Julianna Dailey reads “One of the Days of My Life” (1865), a first-person story that seems like thinly veiled autobiography about the death of a sister and the bond to place. Stoddard …

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Books Unbound – The American Crisis: Readings for the Fourth of July

A special two-hour program broadcast on the Fourth of July, “The American Crisis” features readings from the Revolutionary era, contemporary poetry on national identity, and an impassioned profile of Phillis Wheatley, the first African American poet—and arguably the first truly American poet. The episode is narrated by Heather Perry. Frank Buczolich reads selections throughout from the title work “The American …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part Two: Relations

The second part of Books Unbound’s summer series on Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) features “Lucy Tavish’s Journey “ (1867), a romantic tale read by Renee Reed that throws a few satiric elbows. Young Lucy Tavish sets out in new clothes bought by hay and cheese to have her first independent adventure, exposing herself to an unpredictable, sordid world. But before she …

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Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part One: Mrs. Stoddard

Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) wrote most of her published fiction in the 1860s, during the turbulent years encompassing the American Civil War. While Stoddard’s novel The Morgensons (1862) is recognized as the neglected masterpiece of a strikingly original woman’s voice, the Books Unbound Summer 2015 series focuses on her short works of the decade—stories, poems, letters, and excerpts from her journalism …

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Books Unbound – The Mulatto

Books Unbound revisits “The Mulatto,” a short story that first appeared in 1837 in an anti-slavery magazine published by free people of color in France. Its author was the 19-year-old Victor Séjour, who had come as a student to Paris from New Orleans. Séjour was a French-speaking person of color whose baptismal record identifies him as a free quadroon. His …

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Books Unbound – The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes, Conclusion

The Life Of Lazarillo de Tormes, His Fortunes and Misfortunes concludes with an improbably happy ending. Lazarillo is a clueless but sly servant boy who learns to survive a series of abusive masters through trickery and petty crime. Published anonymously in the 16th century, Lazarillo was one of only six novels banned by the Index of Prohibited Books during the Inquisition. This …

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Books Unbound – The Life Of Lazarillo de Tormes, Part 1

The Life Of Lazarillo de Tormes, His Fortunes and Misfortunes is a classic of Spanish literature, written anonymously and one of only six novels on the Index of Prohibited Books during the Inquisition. Lazaro is a clueless but sly servant boy who learns to survive a series of abusive masters through trickery and petty crime. The original book was controversial …

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