Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward


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Massachusetts author of a fervently emotional novel The Gates Ajar (1868), which is less a novel than a series of conversations by fictional characters concerning the beauties of Heaven. The immense popularity of this work, which seems to have brought solace to innumerable women, was continued in other fictional discussions of the future life: Beyond the Gates (1883), recounting the dream of a woman who thinks she dies and goes to Heaven; The Gates Between (1887), telling the afterlife adventures of an agnostic doctor; and Within the Gates (1901), a reworking of the latter novel. Hedged In (1870), a novel having as its theme the hypocrisy of society in its treatment of women who transgress against conventional moral standards, was followed by other pleas for social justice for women. These are The Silent Partner (1871), a story of New England mill girls; The Story of Avis (1877), concerned with a woman's attempt to have a career as a painter; and Dr. Zay (1882), an account of a woman physician. The Madonna of the Tubs (1886) and Jack, the Fisherman (1887) are novelettes, more realistic in their presentation of the lives of Gloucester fishermen. A Singular Life (1894) parallels the life of Christ in that of a young New England minister whose sincerity causes him to be rejected by the orthodox church.

Subjects: Literature.

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