Cover image for Hungry heart : the literary emergence of Julia Ward Howe
Hungry heart : the literary emergence of Julia Ward Howe
Williams, Gary, 1947 May 6-
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Publication Information:
Amherst : University of Massachusetts Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 273 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
"The thought of what I have undertaken weighs upon me": early writing and the decision to marry -- "Sumner ought to have been a woman": learning to live in a triangulated marriage -- "The internal fire that consumes": the 1840s, motherhood, and the necessity of writing -- "Between extremes distraught and rent": the second trip to Rome and the seeds of Passion-flowers -- "Ye shall listen now": Passion-flowers and the poetics of defiance -- "Down the bitter river she dropped": Words for the hour and The world's own.
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Item Holds
PS2018 .W55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A cultural biography of Julia Ward Howe, with particular emphasis on her early writings such as Passion Flowers and the unpublished 400-page story which featured an hermaphrodite as its protagonist.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Using close readings of selected texts and a reconstructed account of Julia Ward Howe's early married life, William (Univ. of Idaho) creates a portrait of a poet far more troubled and daring than the iconic author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." The author reads Passion-Flowers (1854) as a triumph of transgressive female self-expressivity, a work in which one of the central actions is Ward Howe's exploration of her own marital pain. By Williams's own admission, his speculations about the sources of the Howes' discord are impossible to prove. For example, was Samuel Howe's emotional distance from his wife widened by his passionate friendship with Charles Sumner? Whether one accepts such speculations or not, Samuel Howe's conventional expectation that his wife channel her intellectual and emotional energies into motherhood and into his philanthropic enthusiasms made for a harrowing marriage. Williams's argument that Ward Howe voices, albeit obliquely and ambivalently, her own wrenching discontent--and by extension, emotions typically "masked" by 19th-century women--becomes all the more plausible when one considers contemporary responses and Samuel Howe's own extreme reaction to Passion-Flowers. Ward Howe's early work is clearly kin to Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall (1855), which also enacts forbidden familial disclosure and "unfeminine" revenge. Recommended for all undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. M. L. Robertson; Sweet Briar College