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2021-01-14 06:24:04
[Violence Against Women]
Isabel Mortimer: or, The Southerner's Revenge. An Autobiography
Cincinnati: H. M. Rulison, 1858. First edition. Original publisher's printed wrappers with price 15 cents and publisher misspelled on front wrapper (Wright II, 1328). Wrappers somewhat chipped and soiled, with rear wrap tender. 36 pages with 2 woodcuts. The only copy on the market of this scarce and delicate title, OCLC reports 7 institutionally preserved copies. Isabel Mortimer last appeared at auction over a century ago in 1916. Scarce and understudied, Isabel Mortimer's sensational tale of seduction and revenge in New Orleans offers opportunities for considering how this popular Victorian form not only dealt with representations of femininity generally, but more specifically forms of white Southern femininity. On a general level, sensation novels explored the "ideological constructs of female irresponsibility, passivity, explosiveness, and inacapacity" by pushing them to their limits; as female characters encounter (or engage in) seduction and murder, they "undermine the validity of these constructions of womanhood...By linking women's subversive behavior directly to the stifling economic and psychological conditions of their lives, the novels reveal women's madness is not the result of their instability as the doctors claimed, but of their confined lives" (Zahn). In the case of Isabel Mortimer, a privileged young woman living in antebellum New Orleans, readers witness her response to being taken advantage of by "a professional gambler, a married man!" who trifled with her feelings and her virtue, "hoping in some covert manner to obtain possession of her fortune." As a … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Whitmore Rare Books [United States]
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