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Collapsing the binary Reconsidering faith, feminism, and convention in the works of Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

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Description: This thesis seeks to re-examine four novels by the nineteenth-century American author, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911). Despite writing the second most successfully published novel of the nineteenth century, her work fell into relative obscurity in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. My project challenges prior, albeit limited, critical engagement with Phelps' work that repeatedly bisects her writing, and confines her texts into the limiting categories of either utopian or feminist. Through examining The Gates Ajar (1868), The Story of Avis (1877), Doctor Zay (1882), and Beyond the Gates (1883), I seek to demonstrate Phelps' innovative narrative style and subversive feminist and religious ideology. I hope to correct the elision of Phelps' work from the literary canon arguing that her pioneering and prescient work serves as a vital contribution to American literature.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work