Anonymous: no more
To Wade Fleming
Eng 119 B
November 25, 2010
By Kim Kuntz
Anonymous: no more
Life in the 18th Century was a lot different from life as we know it today. Many things were done for obvious or different reasons. Authors of that era had a particular approach to authorship of literary works. The novel The Female American or The Adventures of UncaEliza Winkfield is a good example, being that the book is written by an anonymous writer. In week 8 of the lecture, Professor Hron asked: “who is the author; was it a woman or was it a man?” Throughout the book, many elements indicate that a female writer could be the creator. In this study, I will observe different aspects that may persuade the reader to believe that a woman is responsible ofproducing the work. The question of authorship is, without a doubt, the most relevant aspect, followed by the sentimentalism and feminism in this fictional work.
The author of The Female American chose to stay anonymous for many reasons. In the 18th century, a woman’s rights were practically non-existent and well defined by men. At the time of colonialism, where men were conquering anddiscovering new worlds, women were moving and making a new life for their families in this new world. Many of the books written at this time were about women in a domestic sphere and not about women taking control of their lives and being in power. The knowledge of the identity of an author plays a big part in how the book is perceived and a lot of our appreciation is based on our perception of whowrote it. In “The story of the story” by Em Adyron, we, as students, read the text with a certain understanding. With a little bit of research on the author, we found out that our professor M. Hron was indeed the author, which changed our comprehension or understanding of the text. The same can be said about The Female American, where, if the readers knew it was written by a woman, the work wouldnot be perceived the same as if a man wrote it. So, by staying anonymous, the author established that the reader would read the book without any prejudice and it may also have assured the publication of it. The publication of a work also plays an important role based on the author. In the 1700’s, women were not considered as educated as men, which was an element to take under consideration: “awoman was given less structure concerns and more ablility to step out and into different stylistic capabilities without fear or retribution, mainly because her writing , unlike a man’s writing, would never have been considered for publication to begin with” (James Holan). By concealing her identity, the author made sure her story was going to be heard and known to a broad public and not beabolished or censured by the will of men.
Another element to contemplate would be the sentimentalism all through the book. The women of that period were more likely to write with sentimentalism than men, who preferred to concentrate on exploration and colonialism. A good example would be the scene in which the protagonist is left on the deserted island all by herself and her emotions take over:“Thus disconsolate, and alone, I sat on the sea-shore. My grief was too great for my sprits to bear; I sunk in a swoon on the ground”(Burnham 56). Another good representation of sentimentality would be when Eliza got sick because she was so emotional: “I sat dissolved in sighs and tears, and indulged my melancholy, till the night drew on, when I laid me down, but not to rest; and so greatly was mymind afflicted, that it brought on a violent fever, attended with a delirium” (Burnham 66).
Eliza was a fervent believer in God; she believed that her religion helped her get through a lot. Even as certain as she was of her passion for Catholicism, her emotions got the best of her. An illustration of this would be when she is questioning herself about going with the natives to...
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