Library Blog

Celebrating Women's History Month

Friday, March 22, 2019

Continuing the celebration of Women's History Month, and the literary theme, we now celebrate two writers, Harriet Beecher Stower and George Eliot. For eleven years, this unlikely duo, became penpals and then friends.

According to Amy Shearn of JSTOR Daily, "Stowe was the religious author of sermonizing, sentamentalist fiction, the daughter of a famous preacher, and the wife of a biblical scholar and mother of seven; Eliot was a shrewd critic and editor who scandalized the English literary community by "living in sin" with her partner George Henry Lewes, who was in an open marriage to someone else. Despite these differences, they shared a literary bond, writing to one another about their writing, their families, and even the Great Beyond."

They were bonded by favorite literary characters, womens suffrage, as well as spirituality and religion. Shearn goes on to say, "Throughout career ups and downs and various scandals on both ends of the ocean, the women were consistently supportive of each other, continuing to write until Eliot's death in 1880.

In a time before social media, and other forms of communication, these two writers created their own support system. As Stowe said, "Is it not true that what we authors want is not praise so much as sympathy? A book is a hand stretched forth in the dark passage of life to see if there is another to meet it."

Click here to read the entire story, When Harriet Beecher Stowe and George Eliot Became Penpals,  about these two amazing authors who wrote some of the best literature of the 1800s.

Look for more Women's History Month stories in the days ahead.

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