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Domestic Biographies: Stowe, Howells, James, and Wharton at Home presents comparative domestic biographies of four American Realist writers: Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Dean Howells, Henry James, and Edith Wharton. Drawing upon extensive primary sources to reconstruct the authors' private lives, Domestic Biographies illuminates how they lived when no one was looking. In particular this book examines how the authors worked and wrote at home and how their home life in turn made its way into their novels and non-fiction. Domestic Biographies offers an innovative and exciting architectural and domestic lens through which to study the lives and literature of America's best-known Realists.
Elif S. Armbruster, Assistant Professor of English at Suffolk University, received her PhD in American Studies from Boston University.
"In this elegant and learned study, Elif S. Armbruster opens the doors into the homes of four of our most important authors. Thanks to her keen sense of literary, biographical, and architectural motifs, the many residences of Stowe, Howells, James, and Wharton emerge as central documents in our understanding of how they approached their chosen vocation." (Adam Sweeting, Boston University; Author of 'Reading Houses and Building Books: Andrew Jackson Downing and the Architecture of Popular Antebellum Literature') "We think we know our Realist authors from their art, yet Elif S. Armbruster's engaging and wonderfully informative guided tour through the houses and apartments where Stowe, Howells, James, and Wharton wrote their books reveals the sleight-of-hand at the heart of the genre. From Stowe's chaotic housekeeping and conspicuous consumption, through Howells's strange mix of wanderlust and domesticity, and James's thrifty London flats and extravagant 'houses of fiction,' to Wharton's Hawthornesque blend of the real and the imaginary, Armbruster adroitly reveals the contradictions and anxieties that underpinned the creation of works that reside at the heart of the American literary canon." (Christopher Gair, University of Glasgow; Editor of 'Symbiosis: A Journal of Transatlantic Literary Relations') "'Domestic Biographies' identifies compelling connections between the material culture of these writers' domestic lives and the cultural concerns and aesthetic contours of their writing. Both scholars and general readers will welcome its insights and engaging narrative." (Gary Totten, North Dakota State University; Editor of 'Memorial Boxes and Guarded Interiors: Edith Wharton and Material Culture')
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