Read The Amber Gods and Other Stories by Harriet Prescott Spofford Free Online
Book Title: The Amber Gods and Other Stories|
The author of the book: Harriet Prescott Spofford
Edition: Rutgers University Press
Date of issue: June 1st 1989
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 412 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1307 times
Reader ratings: 4.8
ISBN 13: 9780813514017
Read full description of the books:
A widely held vision of nineteenth-century American women is of lives lived in naive, domestic peace—the girls of Little Women making do until father comes home from the war. Nothing could be less true of Harriet Prescott Spofford's stories. In fact, her editor at the Atlantic Monthly at first refused to believe that an unworldly woman from New England had written them. Her style, though ornate by our 20th century standards, adds to its atmosphere, like heavy, Baroque furniture in a large and creepy house.
The title story presents a self-centered and captivating woman who ruthlessly steals her orphan cousin's lover. In "Circumstance," a pioneer woman returning home through the woods at night is caught by a panther; her husband, who has come to save her, can only watch from the ground as she sings for her life, pinned in a tree. A train engineer hallucinates again and again that he is running over his wife. And Mrs. Craven, who's a bit "weak" in the head, mindlessly repeats "Three men went down cellar and only two came up." These stories combine elements of the best ghost stories—timing, detail, and character —with just enough chill to make you think twice about turning out your lights at night.
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Read information about the authorHarriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford (April 3, 1835 – August 14, 1921) was a notable American writer remembered for her novels, poems and detective stories.
Born in Calais, Maine, in 1835 Spofford moved with her parents to Newburyport, Massachusetts, which was ever after her home, though she spent many of her winters in Boston and Washington, D.C. She attended the Putnam Free School in Newburyport, and Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire from 1853 to 1855. At Newburyport her prize essay on Hamlet drew the attention of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who soon became her friend, and gave her counsel and encouragement.
Spofford began writing after her parents became sick, sometimes working fifteen hours a day. She contributed story papers for small pay to Boston. In 1859, she sent a story about Parisian life entitled "In a Cellar" to Atlantic Monthly. The magazine's editor, James Russell Lowell, at first believed the story to be a translation and withheld it from publication. Reassured that it was original, he published it and it established her reputation. She became a welcome contributor to the chief periodicals of the United States, both of prose and poetry.
Spofford's fiction had very little in common with what was regarded as representative of the New England mind. Her gothic romances were set apart by luxuriant descriptions, and an unconventional handling of female stereotypes of the day. Her writing was ideal, intense in feeling. In her descriptions and fancies, she reveled in sensuous delights and every variety of splendor.
In 1865, she married Richard S. Spofford, a Boston lawyer. They lived on Deer Island overlooking the Merrimack River at Amesbury, where she died on August 14, 1921.
When Higginson asked Emily Dickinson whether she had read Spofford's work "Circumstance", Dickinson replied, "I read Miss Prescott's 'Circumstance,' but it followed me in the dark, so I avoided her."
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