Catalogue


A passionate usefulness : the life and literary labors of Hannah Adams /
Gary D. Schmidt.
imprint
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, c2004.
description
x, 454 p.
ISBN
0813922720 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, c2004.
isbn
0813922720 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
5166504
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Gary D. Schmidt is Professor of English at Calvin College.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-12-01:
The literary terrain is covered with cracks and fissures into which writers, popular and much noticed in their own time, can fall and disappear until rescued by a diligent biographer. Such is the fortune of Hannah Adams, a pillar of the Boston literary scene at the end of the 18th and well into the 19th century. Not the stuff of anthologies, her works include A Summary History of New England (1799), The History of the Jews (1812), and an encyclopedia of religious sects and denominations. Schmidt's major accomplishments in this well-researched book are a thorough study of Adams' reading and use of sources (which provides the reader with a valuable bibliography) and a fine profile of the intellectual life of Boston. Adams rose out of poverty to walk with the Emersons and the Channings, to feel welcome in the drawing rooms of post-Revolutionary Boston, and to be at home at the reading desks of the Athenaeum. Her writing may lack depth but her life did not, and Schmidt looks at her story through a wide lens, including in the picture Adams' literary feuds and religious endeavors. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; general readers. P. W. Stine Gordon College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2004
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In a literary environment dominated by men, the first American to earn a living as a writer on both sides of the Atlantic was, miraculously, a woman. This is Hannah Adam's biography, which focuses primarily on the intimate connection between Adams's reading and her own literary work.
Short Annotation
In a literary environment dominated by men, the first American to earn a living as a writer and to establish a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic was, miraculously, a woman.
Main Description
In a literary environment dominated by men, the first American to earn a living as a writer and to establish a reputation on both sides of the Atlantic was, miraculously, a woman. Hannah Adams dared to enter -- and in some ways was forced to enter -- a sphere of literature that had, in eighteenth-century America, been solely a male province. Driven by poverty and necessity, and aided by an extraordinarily adept mind and keen sense of business, Adams authored works on New England history, sectarian history, and Jewish history, using and citing the most recent scholarly works being published in Great Britain and America. As a female writer, she would always remain something of an outsider, but her accomplishments did not by any means go unrecognized: embraced by the Boston intelligentsia and highly regarded throughout New England, Adams came to epitomize the possibility in a democratic society that anyone could rise to a circle of intellectual elites. In A Passionate Usefulness, the first book-length biography of this remarkable figure, Gary Schmidt focuses primarily on the intimate connection between Adams's reading and her own literary work. Hers is the story of incipient scholarship in the new nation, the story of a dependence that evolved into intellectual independence. Schmidt sets Adams's works in the context of her early poverty and desperate family situation, her decade-long feud with one of New England's most powerful Calvinist ministers, her alliance with the budding Unitarian movement in Boston, and her work establishing the first evangelical mission to Palestine (a task she accomplished virtually single-handedly). Today Adams still holds a place not only as a female writer who made her way economically in the book business before any other woman -- or male writer -- could do so, but also as a key figure in the transitional generation between the American Revolution and the Renaissance upon whose groundwork much of the country's later literature would build.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prologue: "A Memory to be Kept Green"p. 1
The Solitude of the Reader
"With Gloomy Prospects Before Me"p. 15
"The Strength and Vivacity of Her Understanding"p. 23
An Alphabetical Compendiump. 31
"Gloomy in My Situation"p. 41
"The Benefit of His Patronage"p. 48
A View of Religionsp. 56
The Historian of New England
"Efforts of a Female Pen"p. 67
"Obliged to Lay Aside Reading"p. 76
A Summary History of New-Englandp. 81
"Ancient Histories of New-England"p. 89
"Modern Information"p. 96
"Truth and the Facts of History"p. 105
Proving Faith
A New View of Religionsp. 113
The Truth and Excellence of the Christian Religion Exhibitedp. 125
"Avowing Her Firm Belief"p. 132
Comfort--and Discomfort--in Society
"To Make Some New Acquaintance"p. 141
"Ruinous Competition"p. 154
Abridgement of the History of New-Englandp. 165
"Her Alluring and Powerful Assistance"p. 174
"Corrections and Additions"p. 183
"The Parties in This Controversy"p. 188
"Business Out of the Female Line"p. 199
"I Wish to Learn the Truth of This Report"p. 207
"The Undefined Nature of the Claims"p. 217
The Writer as Activist Historian
"I Shall Avail Myself of the Information"p. 225
The History of the Jewsp. 237
"The Exact Fulfillment"p. 245
"Any Written Communication"p. 254
"The Amount of Compensation"p. 261
The "Painful Affair" Endedp. 267
The Writer's New Purposes
"I Know I Am Very Awkward"p. 279
A Dictionary of All Religions and Religious Denominationsp. 290
"Attention Awakened"p. 299
"You Are at the Head Quarters"p. 311
Letters on the Gospelsp. 320
"Not Alone in Her Exertions"p. 331
"Affection Fervent and Enthusiastic"p. 343
A Memoir of Miss Hannah Adamsp. 348
"Willing to Remain"p. 355
Notesp. 361
Bibliographyp. 431
Indexp. 443
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

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