Chapter

Woman's Rights and Woman's Wrongs: 1869–1872

Joan D. Hedrick

in Harriet Beecher Stowe

Published in print July 1995 | ISBN: 9780195096392
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854288 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195096392.003.0026
Woman's Rights and Woman's Wrongs: 1869–1872

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In the same month in which Harriet Beecher Stowe read the Nation's review of Oldtown Folks, she began designing a public defense of a wronged woman, a woman whose very silence was now being used against her. In England, Lady Byron revealed to her the sordid sexual history of her estrangement from Lord Byron. In the aftermath of the Nation's attack on Anna Dickinson, Rebecca Harding Davis, herself, and Oldtown Folks, Stowe determined to tell the tale. Three months later “The True Story of Lady Byron's Life” was spread across the pages of the sedate Atlantic Monthly. Those who had enjoined women to keep silent would see just how loud a noise she could make. Stowe's story of marital betrayal and incest reverberated powerfully within the political culture of the American woman's movement, and particularly the wing led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who had made marriage, divorce, and sexuality prominent topics of debate.

Keywords: Harriet Beecher Stowe; Nation; wronged woman; Oldtown Folks; Lady Byron; Anna Dickinson; Rebecca Harding Davis; marital betrayal; woman's movement; marriage

Chapter.  14438 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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