Breaking Boundaries: New Perspectives on Women's Regional by Sherrie A. Inness

By Sherrie A. Inness

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However, we do believe that this collection is an exciting addition to the much larger project of analyzing the countless forms that women's regionalist writing has taken, broadening its definition far beyond the turn of the century. Defining Regionalism Before introducing the essays, we must define "regionalism," since it is a troublesome term that is used to refer to a broad variety of writings. " Used in this sense, "regional" is as likely to refer to a novel written this year as it is to one written a century ago.

4 Page 7 These thoughts and experiences affect our conception of regionalism and hence our definition of the genre. They cause us to wish to offer a definition that is more malleable, more fluid than focusing merely on a specific historical era. We begin with David Jordan's suggestion that regionalism "springs from an intimate relationship to the natural environment" (Regionalism xvi). Undoubtedly, a quick look at women's regional literature from any period provides evidence for this viewconsider Jewett's "A White Heron," Dykeman's The French Broad, and Hasselstrom's Land Circle.

Although "Uncle Lot" announces a departure in American fiction from the sketches of Stowe's male predecessors and contemporaries, her own female successors would more fully delineate the features of regionalism and more explicitly link these features to women's lives in nineteenth-century America than Stowe herself did. Conversion based on "private change of heart" (Sklar 27) in Stowe reemerges as the "collaborative and implicational relations between writer or speaker and culture" (Fisher 237), to extend Fisher's formulation beyond Stowe herself, and becomes a feature of regionalist narrative.

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