carey r. voeller university of Kansas Many literary critics have noted a distinct genre of ritualized texts about mourning in Victorian America. Authors such as Lydia Sigourney, Fanny Longfellow, and Frances osgood, for example, inscribe an image of mourning that is excessive, sentimentalized, and embedded within an aspiration toward middle-class, genteel society. Yet, as this essay will show, this excessive, textualized, ritualized grief was but one of a number of strategies that women used to write about loss. nineteenth-century diaries and letters written by women bound for the West on the overland trail represent grief in an equally ritualized fashion. these writers repeatedly suppress and minimize grief over the deaths of husbands, children, and friends in order to construct an image of westering women as tough, durable, and forever moving forward. However, this alternative, but equally ritualized, pattern of textual mourning becomes apparent only when we read the gaps and silences of these women's narratives. GEnEriC DiFFErEnCES: WoMEn WritErS AnD tHE DEtAiLS oF tExtuAL proDuCtion What might account for these different textual representations of bereavement? the specific legacy, vol. 23, no. 2, 2006. copyright ©2006 the university of nebraska press, lincoln, ne details of textual production--when and how
Legacy – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Dec 20, 2006
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