Elizabeth A. DeWolfe
In 1813, Joseph Dyer, his wife Mary, and their five children joined the Shaker community in Enfield, New Hampshire. Joseph quickly adapted to the Shaker way of life, but Mary chafed under its strictures and eventually left the community two years later. When the local elders and her husband refused to release the couple's children to Mary, she embarked on what would become a fifty-year campaign against the Shakers, beginning with the publication in 1818 of A Brief Statement of the Sufferings of Mary Dyer. The following year the Shakers countered by publishing Joseph's A Compendious Narrative, a scathing attack on what the title page called "the character, disposition and conduct of Mary Dyer."
The Dyers' dueling accounts of the breakup of their marriage form the core of Domestic Broils. In Mary's telling, the deceptions of a cruel husband, backed by an unyielding Shaker hierarchy, destroyed what had once been a happy, productive family. Joseph's narrative counters these claims by alleging that Mary abused her children, neglected her husband, and engaged in extramarital affairs.
In her introduction to the volume, Elizabeth De Wolfe places the Dyers' marital dispute in a broader historical context, drawing on their personal testimony to examine connected but conflicting views of marriage, family life, and Shakerism in the early republic. She also shows how the growing world of print facilitated the transformation of a private family quarrel into a public debate. Salacious, riveting, and immensely popular throughout New England, the Dyers' narratives not only captured imaginations but also reflected public anxieties over rapid cultural change in antebellum America.
The original version of this book is out of print, and copyright has reverted to its author.
Thomas S. Edwards and Elizabeth A. DeWolfe
This pathbreaking collection, which contains 19 essays from scholars in a variety of fields, illuminates the work of two centuries of American women nature writers. Some discuss traditional nature writers such as Susan Fenimore Cooper, Mary Austin, Gene Stratton Porter, and Annie Dillard. Others examine the work of Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Anzaldua, and Leslie Marmon Silko, writers not often associated with this genre. Essays on germinal texts such as Marjory Stoneman Douglas's The Everglades: River of Grass stand alongside examinations of market bulletins and women's gardens, showing how the rich diversity of women's nature writing has shaped and expanded the genre, and enlarged the audience for whom nature mattered.
This second, digital edition contains an updated introduction and author biographies.
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