Minnie's Sacrifice, Sowing and Reaping, Trial and Triumph: Three Rediscovered Novels, Frances E. W. Harper

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Edited by Frances Smith Foster

Winner of the College Language Association Book Award

Frances Smith Foster has rediscovered three novels by Frances E. W. Harper that were originally serialized in The Christian Recorder between 1868 and...
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Overview

Edited by Frances Smith Foster

Winner of the College Language Association Book Award

Frances Smith Foster has rediscovered three novels by Frances E. W. Harper that were originally serialized in The Christian Recorder between 1868 and 1888. These works, the first written for African-Americans, address issues of passing, social responsibility, sexuality, and temperance.

"Foster's discovery . . . may well be the literary find of the century."
— Quarterly Black Review

Frances Smith Foster offers three recovered novels by the best-known African-American woman writer of the 19th century. Author of the classic Iola Leroy, Frances E. W. Harper's fiction offers genuine insight into the lives of black Americans in the post-bellum era. "A major contribution."--William L. Andrews, editor of Sisters of the Spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Harper's Iola Leroy is a classic of 19th-century African American women's fiction. These three recently excavated short novels add depth and historical perspective to her legacy, while displaying new facets of her inspirational voice. Writing about the injustices of slavery and the difficulties faced by black women after the Civil War, Harper combines the clean, elegant style of Austen and Bronte with a powerful talent for social advocacy. Minnie's Sacrifice (1869) is the best of the three, dissecting the difficult choices faced by a light-skinned husband and wife when they learn, after having been raised as white, that their veins run with African American blood. Sowing and Reaping (1876-1877) is less ambiguous; a product of the temperance movement, it offers a sternly moralistic look at the evils of John Barleycorn. The weakest entry is Trial and Triumph (1888-1889), which presents a series of simple, right-or-wrong tales about postwar racial blending that reads like a barely stitched-together collection of short stories. While there is some excellent writing here, Harper's story construction is stilted, and the occasional missing chapter disrupts continuity (the narratives are incomplete because their only prior publication was in serial form, in poorly kept copies of a 19th-century African American periodical, The Christian Register ). Despite these flaws, Harper's trilogy represents a historical breakthrough and a worthy addition to the literature of the period. (June)
Library Journal
These three 19th-century novels were recently rediscovered by scholar Foster while researching the African American author's life and career. Originally serialized in the Christian Recorder between 1868 and 1888, these pioneering novels championed the cause of African American equality and rights. An important find, this combined volume is essential for all public and academic library collections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807083338
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Series: Black Women's Writers Series
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.71 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances E.W. Harper (1825-1911), a popular lecturer, poet, and author, was a leader in the suffrage and temperance movements and a founding member of the National Association of Colored Women.
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