Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard Biographical Information
Scope and Contents
- Robert Cantwell (Biographer) (Author, Person)
Elizabeth Drew Barstow (1823-1902) was born in Mattapoisset, Massachusetts, on May 6, 1823. She attended Wheaton Seminary between 1840 and 1841.
Elizabeth married Richard Henry Stoddard in 1852 and thereafter lived in New York. Her husband was a well-known and respected poet, editor and critic, but Elizabeth was herself a poet, short-story writer, and novelist, writing in the realist style. Mrs. Stoddard published her first story in the Atlantic in 1861; her novel, The Morgesons, was published a year later. This was followed by Two Men, 1865; and Temple House, 1867. She also wrote stories and poems for many magazines such as Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and The Independent, 1858-93.
The Morgesons drew from Henry James "the most ferocious, in fact vicious, review Henry James is known to have written":
[The Morgesons] possessed not even the slightest mechanical coherency. It was a long tedious record of incoherent dialogue between persons irresponsible in their sayings and doings even to the verge of insanity. Of narrative, of exposition, of statement, there was not a page in the book... [The reader] arose with his head full of impressions as lively as they were disagreeable.
[Alfred Habegger, Henry James and the 'Woman Business', 2004.]
More recently, scholars have attempted to improve Stoddard's place in the development of women's literature.
See reprint editions of her novels in the Wheaton Authors Collection for further biographical information.
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- Inventory of the Elizabeth B. Stoddard Biographical Information
- Ashley Kuhn, W09
- November 2008
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