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Emily Chester: A Novel
Boston: Ticknor and Fields 1864. First edition. Wear to the joints, corners, and spine ends, a good, sound copy. The Dedication Copy, Inscribed by the author to her mother: "to my dear mother, with the love of my whole heart. A.M.C. Sept. 28th, 1864." The printed dedication reads: "To My Mother. Such as I have give I unto thee." A surprise best-seller in its day, a novel set in Baltimore about a respectably married woman who falls in love with a new man, contemplates adultery, and worries herself to death over her dilemma. Anne Moncure Crane, a descendant of Declaration of Independence signer Thomas Stone, was twenty when she and some friends challenged each other to write a novel. Crane's result was sent anonymously to Ticknor and Fields, who initially ignored the unsolicited manuscript but changed their minds upon reading the book, which presented the age-old love triangle in new, psychologically and morally complex ways. Crane, who followed this with a second novel three years later, married a New York businessman, August Seemuller, in 1869. Her third novel was an attack on vice in the city and she was critically assailed for taking too keen an interest in unseemly matters. Like the heroine of Emily Chester, Crane's health deteriorated rapidly and she died in 1872. Crane's psychological insight had a lasting effect on other writers, notably Henry James, who has of late even been accused of plagiarizing her work (see Alfred Habegger's Henry James and the 'Woman Business'). The dedication copy of a pioneering work of American women's fiction, unaccountably rare in the first edition. Wright II 2183.
      [Bookseller: Between The Covers]
Last Found On: 2012-04-27           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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