Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Adviser

Whitley, Edward

Abstract

As a study on Fanny Fern’s influence on the nineteenth-century literary market, this paper ultimately argues for continued critical exploration into the developing understanding the relationship between nineteenth-century American readers and their celebrated authors. Specifically, I argue Fanny Fern attempted to, yet again, radically change the literary market forming around her. Building on, primarily, Melissa Homestead and David Dowling’s own critical work on Fern’s alterations to the nineteenth-century publishing industry, this paper relies on close reading analysis through moments of interiority—active peeping into private spaces—and reader-author communications within Ruth Hall and the collection of columns within Ginger-Snaps. I argue that Fern, tired of her commodified existence as an American authorial celebrity, worked to reclaim her subjectivity through providing her readership with fictional and non-fictional didactic interactions between an authorial subject and consuming reader, teaching those readers to forsake authorial commodification and rather establish an emotional recognition of dual-subjectivity.

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