As The Nation noted in its obituary at her death: Homestead on the Hillside is an eternal paradox of our world of letters that the books which enjoy the largest sale are barely recognized as existing by the guardians of literary tradition.
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Homestead on the Hillside:Mrs. Homestead on the Hillside written by the author Mary Jane Holmes is a great book highly recommended to read.
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Homestead on the Hillside by Mary J Holmes (#2)
In at the age of 29, she published her first novel, Tempest and Sunshine. Its central girl characters, Julia and Fanny, were reportedly modeled on the local family of John Singleton and his daughters Bettie and Susan.
While sales of the novel were slow at first, they steadily continued, and ultimately totaled about , copies. Reprinted in , this novel was her most popular.
Carleton, which was succeeded by G. Dillingham, all of New York City. It is an eternal paradox of our world of letters that the books which enjoy the largest sale are barely recognized as existing by the guardians of literary tradition.
The theme of most of her novels was domestic life, reflecting society in the antebellum years, as well as during and after the American Civil War. Her books were very popular and she was published by major firms in New York. Her sales were second nationally only to those of Harriet Beecher Stowe ; in total Holmes sold more than two million books. As the literary scholar Judith Fetterley notes:. Thus the first truth the women have to tell is that not all Americans are male and the assumption that an American text must be a man's story told by men is partisan to say the least.
Were this truth to be told, of course, it would require a redefinition of what constitutes an American theme; it would require the possibility that a story by a woman about women could be an American text For a man's story told by a man is not necessarily the same as a man's story told by a woman. Critics of the time and early 20th century classified Holmes' and other women authors' work as "sentimental" and downplayed it because of appeal to the common reader.
Recent critics have appreciated how Holmes grappled seriously with issues of gender, race and class, as well as slavery and the Civil War. She created attractive characters who also had flaws, with whom readers could identify. The scholar Earl Yarington notes that her heroines "go out, often on their own accord, into an uncertain world and make new lives for themselves. While Holmes traveled extensively to Europe and Asia, trips from which she collected art, she continued to write and publish about one book annually.
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