Comprehensive Study of American Writer Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, 1844-1911

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This study examines the novels, essays, and short stories of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps within their cultural/historical context. It examines the social climate and reform movements during Phelps’s writing career, and demonstrates how she was a woman ahead of her time in the nineteenth century. This monograph will serve as source material for anyone teaching any of Phelps’s novels, and would provide helpful contextualization for research in American reform movements, women’s rights, labor reform, the temperance movement, and the social Christianity movement.


"Privett (Lubbock Christian Univ.) has delivered on the promise of the title of this ambitious volume, which indeed provides a comprehensive study of Phelps … Once Privett has established Phelps's importance in literary history, though, she hits her stride, offering insightful and sophisticated analyses of such works as The Story of Avis, The Silent Partner, Dr. Zay, The Gates Ajar, Beyond the Gates, and The Gates Between. Throughout the text Privett weaves snippets of Phelps's autobiography that help to illuminate various themes in her writings, and she discusses the social and cultural milieu of Phelps's generation … The volume features a useful chronology, several well-selected photographs, a comprehensive bibliography, and an adequate, though not particularly detailed, index. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic libraries; all levels." - CHOICE
“…Privett, from a richly researched perspective, weaves new and insightful observations of the life of the author into a thorough and detailed analysis of her fiction. Gates Ajar, Beyond the Gates, Gates Between, A Singular Life, “The Tenth of January,” The Silent Partner, Hedged In, The Madonna of the Tubs, Friends, The Story of Avis, Doctor Zay, Walled In, An Old Maid in Paradise and Burglars in Paradise provide a majority of the art used to reveal Phelps’ truth. Privett skillfully combines the issues that define the life of Phelps with the works that assure her veracity…..Privett’s exceptional work ingeniously portrays Phelps’ quest to proclaim her truth through her art.” – Dr. Sylvia Peel, Angelo State University

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword; Preface
Introduction: The Literary Life of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
1. The Awakening to Intellectual and Spiritual Life: Phelps and Philosophy
2. Labor Reform and Class Issues: “The Fingers of the World”
3. Crusading for Temperance and Women’s Rights: “He’s Always Kind When He’s Sober”
4. Women in the Public Sphere: Breaking down the Walls
5. The “True Woman” and Man: Confessions of an American Wife
6. Concealing Herself behind Her Autobiography, Revealing Herself in Her Fiction: Some Conclusions
Bibliography; Index

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