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House and Home Papers, by Christopher Crowfield

A novel by

Joan Hedrick, in her Pulitzer-Prize winning biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe calls HOUSE AND HOME PAPERS, the author's "most successful wartime series." In the first number, "Ravages of a Carpet" she tells of the "seemingly innocent introduction of a new carpet into the modest home of Christopher Crowfield." The creation of vast amounts of consumer goods led to their immediate (and conspicuous?) consumption by a growing Northern middle class. Mrs. Stowe made this subtle point by noting the new carpet and other newly purchased goods filling the parlor sat "shut up like a mausoleum" while the family and friends gathered in the old, worn, -- and clearly more comfortable -- library of Mr. Crowfield. Hedrick also sees as telling the choice of a male voice by Mrs. Stowe, indicating the rise of the mail literary establishment and the concurrent "devaluing women's culture and women's literary achievement during what had been the formative years of American literature." An important Stowe title.

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