Monday, August 3, 2009

Slawinski edits Sukey Vickery

Sukey Vickery’s Emily Hamilton is an epistolary novel dealing with the courtship and marriages of three women. Originally published in 1803, it is one of the earliest examples of realist fiction in America and a departure from other novels at the turn of the nineteenth century. From the outset its author intended it as a realist project, never delving into the overly sentimental plotting or characterization present in much of the writing of Vickery’s contemporaries. Emily Hamilton explores from a decidedly feminine perspective the idea of a woman’s right to choose her own spouse and the importance of female friendship. Vickery’s characterization of women further diverges from the typical eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century didactic of the righteous/sinful woman and depicts, instead, believable female characters exhibiting true-to-life behavior. A presentation of this novel accompanied by Vickery’s poetry, letters, a diary fragment, and a few nineteenth-century responses to her work, Emily Hamilton and Other Writings is the first complete collection of Vickery’s writings. For more information on the volume and to read an excerpt, click HERE.

Sukey Vickery was born in Leicester, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1779. At age twenty-two she became a published author when her poems appeared in the Massachusetts Spy. Two years later her novel Emily Hamilton appeared in print. After her marriage in 1804 she ceased to publish but continued to write. She died at the untimely age of forty-two.
Scott Slawinski is an assistant professor of English at Western Michigan University and the author of Validating Bachelorhood: Audience, Patriarchy, and Charles Brockden Brown’s Editorship of the Monthly Magazine and American Review.

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