Stephanie Palmer, Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers (Routledge, 2019).
Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers analyses British reviews of American women fiction writers, essayists and poets between the periods of literary domesticity and modernism. The book demonstrates that a variety of American women writers were intelligently read in Britain during this era. British reviewers read American women as literary artists, as women and as Americans. While their notion of who counted as “women” was too limited by race and class, they eagerly read these writers for insight about how women around the world were entering debates on women’s place, the class struggle, religion, Indian policy, childrearing, and high society. In the process, by reading American women in varied ways, reviewers became hybrid and dissenting readers. The taste among British reviewers for American women’s books helped change the predominant direction that high culture flowed across the Atlantic from east-to-west to west-to-east. Britons working in London or far afield were deeply invested in the idea of “America.” “America,” their responses prove, is a transnational construct.