Women Writing the American Artist in Novels of Development from 1850–1932 does not shy away from addressing some of the most persistent and, it must be said, pernicious suppositions about women’s writing. Refreshingly, it does so not through hagiography of its subjects or setting up a battle of the sexes. Instead, it offers a reading of the development of women’s writing on its own terms from the mid-nineteenth century to the modernist age. Legleitner establishes E. D. E. N Southworth as the rising source of the female Künstlerroman in the U.S., tracing an emerging tradition over eight decades through Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Kate Chopin, Willa Cather, Jessie Fauset, and Zelda Fitzgerald. (For nonliterary specialists, Künstlerroman is the somewhat clunky German term designating one of three subgenres of the Bildungsroman, the novel of development. While the Bildungsroman typically traces an individual’s passage from youth to adulthood, concluding with the protagonist’s assimilation...

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