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Lillie Devereux Blake: Retracing a Life Erased Hardcover – November 25, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Almost forgotten today, Blake (1833-1913) was a successful author, journalist, and public speaker prominent in the women's rights movement and instrumental in the founding of Barnard College. Fiercely independent and unwilling to be confined by the gender constraints of her day, Blake supported herself and her children by writing and lecturing and campaigned tirelessly for the legal and social equality of women. Her wider vision of women's rights put her at odds with women seeking only women's suffrage. As a result, she has been marginalized in the history of the women's suffrage movement. Farrell (English, Butler Univ.), who has edited a new edition of Blake's novel, Fettered for Life, here presents an engaging critical biography, the first in 60 years. She skillfully describes Blake's accomplishments against the background of her struggles with prevailing social attitudes. Farrell's own experiences in researching the book offer additional perspective on Blake's life. Appropriate for academic and public libraries. Patricia A. Beaber, Coll. of New Jersey Lib., Ewing
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Review

Reads like a detective story, full of suspense and intrigue. Well-written, evocative, and carefully researched, the narrative of Blake's struggles and successes unfolds through the inquisitive lens of her biographer; the very process of uncovering Blake's significance in the world of nineteenth-century women's politics and literature becomes part of the story.

(Leah Blatt Glasser, author of In a Closet Hidden: The Life and Works of Mary Wilkins Freeman)

One of the most impressive biographies I've read. The strengths of Farrell's book lie not only in its theorization and framing of Blake's life, but in its command of cultural history and in her superb close readings of literary texts.

(Carolyn L. Karcher, author of The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child)

Blake is certainly one of the most important of the recently recovered women writers of the nineteenth century. In this beautifully written and insightful biography, Farrell advances our understanding of Blake's importance by culturally contextualizing her life and writings in complex and fascinating ways. As a Civil War journalist, renowned novelist, ardent advocate of women's suffrage, and articulate lecturer in support of the labor movement, Blake gives us significant insights into the major political and social movements of the period. This is a book I simply could not put down. It is a model of scholarship and a must-read for anyone interested in nineteenth-century studies.

(Sharon M. Harris, author of Rebecca Harding Davis and American Realism)

[Farrell] here presents an engaging critical biography, the first in 60 years. She skillfully describes Blake's accomplishments against the background of her struggles with prevailing social attitudes. Farrell's own experiences in researching the book offer additional perspective on Blake's life.

(Library Journal)

Almost forgotten today, Blake (1833-1913) was a successful author, journalist, and public speaker prominent in the women's rights movement and instrumental in the founding of Barnard College. Fiercely independent and unwilling to be confined by the gender constraints of her day, Blake supported herself and her children by writing and lecturing and campaigned tirelessly for the legal and social equality of women. Her wider vision of women's rights put her at odds with women seeking only women's suffrage. As a result, she has been marginalized in the history of the women's suffrage movement. Farrell (English, Butler Univ.), who has edited a new edition of Blake's novel, Fettered for Life, here presents an engaging critical biography, the first in 60 years. She skillfully describes Blake's accomplishments against the background of her struggles with prevailing social attitudes. Farrell's own experiences in researching the book offer additional perspective on Blake's life. Appropriate for academic and public libraries.

(Patricia A. Beaber, College of New Jersey)
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