Narrative in the Professional Age: Transatlantic Readings of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, and George Eliot
By Jennifer Cognard-Black
New York and London: Routledge, 2004
Challenging previous studies that claim anxiety and antagonism between transatlantic Victorian authors, Jennifer Cognard-Black uncovers a model of reciprocal influence among three of the most popular women writers of the era. Combining analyses of personal correspondence and print culture with close readings of key narratives, this study presents an original history of transatlantic authorship that examines how these writers invented a collaborative aesthetics both within and against the dominant discourse of professionalism.
Praise for Narrative in the Professional Age
"Cognard-Black’s study engages and extends transatlantic studies in significant ways. She resists the ‘antagonist thesis’ of Robert Weisbuch and other critics who argue that nineteenth-century American writers felt a sense of inferiority to their British counterparts, suffering a sort of Bloomian ‘anxiety of influence.’ Cognard-Black argues instead that the transatlantic relationships of Stowe, Eliot, and Phelps were not simply examples of British influence on American writers..., but demonstrate literary collaboration and interdependence.... Narrative in the Professional Age demonstrate[s] the range, flexibility, and necessity of transatlantic literary studies..., [contributing] to the growing body of transatlantic literary, cultural, and intellectual history."
— Whitney Womack Smith
Miami University, from a review in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, 5.3 (Winter 2009)