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Constance Fenimore Woolson

(1840—1894)


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(1840–94),

New Hampshire-born grandniece of Cooper, spent her youth mainly in Ohio, of which she wrote in her early local-color stories and novels. Castle Nowhere (1875) collects stories dealing chiefly with the primitive French inhabitants near the Great Lakes. Later, as in the title story of Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches (1880), she wrote of the contrasts between the prewar South and its life during Reconstruction, which she studied at first hand during her residence in the Carolinas and Florida (1873–79). The Front Yard (1895) and Dorothy (1896) are collections of tales presenting character studies of Americans in Italy, where the author lived after 1879. Her five novels, written while she was abroad, use American settings. Anne (1882) deals with a simple Mackinac Island girl, thrown into the social life of New York; For the Major (1883), set in North Carolina, is a study of a woman's self-sacrifice for her husband to preserve his cherished illusions of the Old South; East Angels (1886) is a study of moral contrasts with a lush Florida background; Jupiter Lights (1889) is a story of the conflict between sisters-in-law representative of the Southern and Northern characters. Her last novel, Horace Chase (1894), is about a self-made man and his wife, who looks down upon him until she discovers his true character.

Subjects: Literature.


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