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"Unnatural Unions:" Picturesque Travel, Sexual Politics, and Working-Class Representation in "A Night Under Ground" and "Life in the Iron-Mills"

"Unnatural Unions:" Picturesque Travel, Sexual Politics, and Working-Class Representation in "A... Andrew Silver Mercer University n December 19, 1860, the Atlantic Monthly arrived in Rebecca Harding Davis's hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia, including among its offerings a story entitled "A Night Under Ground," an erotically charged picturesque travel narrative detailing one woman's liberating descent into the Cornish copper-mines of Michigan. "A Night Under Ground," like most picturesque narratives routinely offered to readers in magazines like Harper's, the Atlantic, and Putnam's Monthly, only nominally concerns itself with working-class miners, instead using a site of working-class labor to provide a remarkable fantasy of escape for middle-class readers. Soon after the publication of "A Night Under Ground," Davis sent her own story of the Cornish industrial working class to the Atlantic Monthly. Though "A Night Under Ground" and "Life in the Iron-Mills" share many strikingly similar elements--both narratives portray five members of the upper-class traveling to an industrial site for business and amusement, both narratives have these travelers encounter and become briefly fascinated with one sepalegacy, vol. 20, nos. 1 & 2, 2003, copyright © 2003 the university of nebraska press, lincoln, ne rate and unique working-class Cornish man, both narratives begin by employing elaborate metaphors of rivers as slaves, and both http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Legacy University of Nebraska Press

"Unnatural Unions:" Picturesque Travel, Sexual Politics, and Working-Class Representation in "A Night Under Ground" and "Life in the Iron-Mills"

Legacy , Volume 20 (1) – Nov 18, 2003

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 The University of Nebraska.
ISSN
1534-0643
Publisher site
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Abstract

Andrew Silver Mercer University n December 19, 1860, the Atlantic Monthly arrived in Rebecca Harding Davis's hometown of Wheeling, West Virginia, including among its offerings a story entitled "A Night Under Ground," an erotically charged picturesque travel narrative detailing one woman's liberating descent into the Cornish copper-mines of Michigan. "A Night Under Ground," like most picturesque narratives routinely offered to readers in magazines like Harper's, the Atlantic, and Putnam's Monthly, only nominally concerns itself with working-class miners, instead using a site of working-class labor to provide a remarkable fantasy of escape for middle-class readers. Soon after the publication of "A Night Under Ground," Davis sent her own story of the Cornish industrial working class to the Atlantic Monthly. Though "A Night Under Ground" and "Life in the Iron-Mills" share many strikingly similar elements--both narratives portray five members of the upper-class traveling to an industrial site for business and amusement, both narratives have these travelers encounter and become briefly fascinated with one sepalegacy, vol. 20, nos. 1 & 2, 2003, copyright © 2003 the university of nebraska press, lincoln, ne rate and unique working-class Cornish man, both narratives begin by employing elaborate metaphors of rivers as slaves, and both

Journal

LegacyUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Nov 18, 2003

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