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A New HeartlandWomen, Modernity, and the Agrarian Ideal in America$
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Janet Gallingani Casey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195338959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338959.001.0001

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Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Women, the Farm, and the Best-seller

Chapter 3 Chapter 3 Women, the Farm, and the Best-seller

Chapter:
(p.85) Chapter 3 Women, the Farm, and the Best-seller
Source:
A New Heartland
Author(s):

Janet Galligani Casey (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195338959.003.0004

This chapter demonstrates the ways in which women’s rural fiction was heavily implicated in conversations about the encroachment of middlebrow culture, and discusses the remarkable popularity of best-selling rural fiction by women. It analyzes the economy of literary prizes and the prominent placement of these novels within that economy, and attempts to unpack the presumed relations among women, sentimentality, and rurality. It also reads closely several best-sellers—by Edna Ferber, Martha Ostenso, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, and Gladys Hasty Carroll—both for what they demonstrate about the relations among women, rurality, and the bookselling industry, and to refute the assertion that women’s farm novels of the period were trite, or that they evaded engagement with the pressing concerns of modernity.

Keywords:   rural fiction, middlebrow, literary prizes, best-sellers, sentimentality, rurality, Edna Ferber, Martha Ostenso, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Gladys Hasty Carroll

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