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Mary Edwards Bryan

Her Early Life and Works

Mary Edwards Bryan by Canter Brown Jr.
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The publication of Manch in 1880 marked the beginning of Mary Edwards Bryan's rise to prominence as one of nineteenth-century America's best-known writers of mass-market fiction. At a time when women were discouraged from having jobs of their own, she made a name for herself as a thoughtful--and well-paid--editor. Despite her cultivated image as editor of Fashion Bazar and Sunny South, Bryan's early life was fraught with obstacles.

In this finely crafted literary biography, Canter Brown Jr. and Larry Eugene Rivers examine Bryan's formative years in Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, pairing historical insights with selections of her best writing to illustrate how the obstacles she overcame shaped what she wrote. She grew up on a frontier plantation and later lived through the upheavals of secession and war, disruptive affairs with authors and politicians, the tensions of emancipation, and pervading post-war economic disorder.

Despite the oppressive men in her life--her abusive father and husband--as well as unabashed limitations regarding the role of women, Bryan ultimately achieved extraordinary literary accomplishments in New York and Atlanta. A story of celebrity amid scandal, success amid disaster, ambition amid despair, this book reintroduces to the world a courageous and creative talent who yearned to express herself while navigating the restrictive morals and conventions of Victorian society.

University Press of Florida; October 2015
369 pages; ISBN 9780813055565
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Title: Mary Edwards Bryan
Author: Canter Brown Jr.; Larry Eugene Rivers