"I don't know what I would do but for writing": authorship and the diary of Susan Warner (1850-3)

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University of Alabama Libraries

Susan Bogert Warner is best known for her novel The Wide, Wide World (1850), a work of domestic fiction that was second only to Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) in its nineteenth-century popularity. In the months before the publication of The Wide, Wide World, Warner began a diary in the pages of a discarded journal that had previously belonged to her aunt. This dissertation project consists of a transcription of the diary, a biographical sketch, and a critical analysis of the diary text. A literal transcription of the diary provides a primary source through which to analyze Warner’s life and writing by presenting an intimate portrait of her life and mind at the beginning of her career. This diary captures Warner’s journey into authorship and allows Warner the agency of narrating the three pivotal years of her early career. The diary transcription and analysis help to define how Warner sees herself as a writer and woman in Victorian America.

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English literature