Synopses & Reviews
In this thoughtful retelling of Constance Fenimore Woolson’s life Rioux a professor of English at the University of New Orleans and president of the Woolson Society seeks to bring the “lady novelist” out of the shadow of her great friend Henry James. Woolson had already published a short story collection when in 1880 she met James who later used her as a model for characters in his fiction. Born in 1840 to a distinguished family—her mother’s family founded Cooperstown N.Y. and her granduncle was the novelist James Fenimore Cooper—Woolson was a bookish serious observant child. Haunted by financial insecurity and depression as an adult she led a peripatetic life in the U.S. and Europe eventually settling down in Venice. All the while Woolson sought to find a balance between society’s expectations for women and her own creative fire and drive a dichotomy she never reconciled completely. Her lonely ambiguous death at the age of 53—falling from the window of her Venetian palazzo in an apparent suicide—is perhaps the most vivid reminder of the painful choices she had to make. Her work merits reexamination and Rioux has brought to life an unjustly forgotten writer. (Feb.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
This literary biography reveals the life and writing of ConstanceFenimore Woolson, the grand-niece of writer James Fenimore Cooper. While Woolson is perhaps best-known as the model for the characterIsabelle Archer in Henry James’s novel The Portrait of a Lady, the book emphasizes that Woolson was also a writer in her own right andanalyzes her writing about American life in the post-Civil War era. The book describes her education, her travels, her relationship withHenry James, and the controversies surrounding her possible suicide. The book contains b&w historical photos.Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)