Manual Fern Leaves From Fannys Portfolio

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Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Portfolio. London, 1853.

Frederick M. This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's preservation reformatting program. Get A Copy. Published September 1st by University of Michigan Library first published More Details Original Title. Fern leaves from Fanny's portfolio. With original designs by Fred M.

Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Inspired by Reverend Edward Payson of Portland's Second Congregational Church, her father intended to name his fifth child after the minister.

When the child was born a girl, he intended to name her after Payson's mother, Grata Payson. The reverend urged the Willises to reconsider, noting that his mother had never liked the name. Willis's surname was to change often in her life, throughout three marriages and the adoption of her chosen pen name "Fanny Fern.

Feeling that this chosen name was a better fit, she used it also in her personal life; eventually most of her friends and family called her "Fanny.


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Willis attended Catharine Beecher 's boarding school in Hartford, Connecticut. Beecher later described her as one of her "worst-behaved girls" adding that she also "loved her the best. Her mother and younger sister Ellen both died early in ; in her eldest daughter Mary died of brain fever meningitis ; soon afterward, her husband Charles succumbed to typhoid fever.

Fanny Fern

Willis was left nearly destitute. With little help from either her father or her in-laws — and none from her brother N. Willis — she struggled to make ends meet for her surviving young daughters. Her father persuaded her to remarry. In the young widow married Samuel P. Farrington, a merchant. Farrington was so intensely jealous that in Willis left him, scandalizing her family, [7] and they divorced two years later. Willis published her first article, "The Governess", in November in the new Boston newspaper Olive Branch , followed by some short satirical pieces there and in True Flag ; soon after she regularly began using the pen name "Fanny Fern" for all her articles.

She sent samples of her work under her own name to her brother Nathaniel, by then a magazine owner, but he refused them and said her writing was not marketable outside Boston. He was proved wrong, as newspapers and periodicals in New York and elsewhere began printing Fanny Fern's "witty and irreverent columns". In the summer of , Fern was hired by the publisher Oliver Dyer at twice her salary to publish a regular column exclusively in his New York newspaper Musical World and Times ; she was the first woman to have a regular column.

The next year, Dyer helped her find a publisher for her first two books: Fern Leaves from Fanny's Portfolio , a selection of her more sentimental columns, and Little Ferns for Fanny's Little Friends , a children's book. She had to reveal her legal name to the publishers. As it was then still Farrington and disagreeable to her, she tried to keep her name secret. James Parton , a biographer and historian who edited Home Journal , the magazine owned by Fern's brother Nathaniel known as N.

Willis , was impressed by Fern's work. He published her columns and invited the author to New York City. When her brother discovered this, he forbade Parton from publishing any more of Fern's work. Instead Parton resigned as editor of the magazine in protest. Fern's first book, Fern Leaves , was a best seller.

It sold 46, copies in the first four months, and over 70, copies the first year.


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  • She received ten cents a copy in royalties, enough for her to buy a house in Brooklyn and live comfortably. Fern wrote two novels. Her first, Ruth Hall , was based on her life — the years of happiness with Eldredge, the poverty she endured after he died and lack of help from male relatives, and her struggle to achieve financial independence as a journalist. Most of the characters are thinly veiled versions of people in her world. She took revenge by her unflattering portrayals of several who had treated her uncharitably when she most needed help, including her father, her in-laws, her brother N.

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    Willis, and two newspaper editors. When Fern's identity was revealed shortly after the novel's publication, some critics believed it scandalous that she had attacked her own relatives; they decried her lack of filial piety and her want of "womanly gentleness" in such characterizations.

    The author Nathaniel Hawthorne , who had earlier complained about the "damned mob of scribbling women", wrote to his publisher in early in praise of the novel. He said he "enjoyed it a great deal.

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    A Feminist Perspective of Fern Leaves from Fanny’s Portfolio | Bartleby

    The woman writes as if the devil was in her, and that is the only condition in which a woman ever writes anything worth reading. Wounded by the criticism and ambivalent about the wide publicity she stirred up, Fern tried to reduce the autobiographical elements in her second novel, Rose Clark. But while it features a conventionally sweet and gentle heroine, a secondary character makes a poor marriage of convenience , an act which Fern had regretted in her own life. Fern's writing continued to attract attention.

    In her Ledger column of May 10, , she defended the poet Walt Whitman in a favorable review of his controversial book Leaves of Grass. Sara Willis and James Parton were married in when she was 45 and well established.


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