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An Impossible Woman: Henry James and the Mysterious Case of Anne Moncure Crane

An Impossible Woman: Henry James and the Mysterious Case of Anne Moncure Crane Essays SHEILA "Isn't there a theory that women forgive injuries, but never ignomininies?" "That's what the novelists teach, and we bachelors get most of our doctrine about women from them. . . . We don't go to nature for our impressions; but neither do the novelists, for that matter." --W. D. Howells, A Modern Instance (1882)1 On January 30, 1873, the Nation ran a modest, one-paragraph obituary marking the death of Mrs. A. M. C. Seemuller, "better known by her maiden name, Anne Moncure Crane," and still better as the "Author of `Emily Chester.'" But the entry, though it was written on the occasion of Crane's death at the age of thirty-four, says very little about the author. Instead, it offers a series of strange and indecorous castigations of Emily Chester, a novel by Crane that was by this point almost a decade old. Statements referring to the "crudity of [Crane's] book," demeaned as an "ephemeral success" and, in reality, a matter of "no significance," suggest that the author of the obituary may have seized the moment of Crane's death for the kind of public remonstrance that can, in truth, only stem from personal complaint.2 And though it http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Literary Realism University of Illinois Press

An Impossible Woman: Henry James and the Mysterious Case of Anne Moncure Crane

American Literary Realism , Volume 49 (2) – Nov 25, 2017

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 American Literary Realism.
ISSN
1940-5103
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Abstract

Essays SHEILA "Isn't there a theory that women forgive injuries, but never ignomininies?" "That's what the novelists teach, and we bachelors get most of our doctrine about women from them. . . . We don't go to nature for our impressions; but neither do the novelists, for that matter." --W. D. Howells, A Modern Instance (1882)1 On January 30, 1873, the Nation ran a modest, one-paragraph obituary marking the death of Mrs. A. M. C. Seemuller, "better known by her maiden name, Anne Moncure Crane," and still better as the "Author of `Emily Chester.'" But the entry, though it was written on the occasion of Crane's death at the age of thirty-four, says very little about the author. Instead, it offers a series of strange and indecorous castigations of Emily Chester, a novel by Crane that was by this point almost a decade old. Statements referring to the "crudity of [Crane's] book," demeaned as an "ephemeral success" and, in reality, a matter of "no significance," suggest that the author of the obituary may have seized the moment of Crane's death for the kind of public remonstrance that can, in truth, only stem from personal complaint.2 And though it

Journal

American Literary RealismUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Nov 25, 2017

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