I’m excited to announce that my article “Nineteenth-century Women Writers and the Sentimental Roots of Literary Journalism” has been published in the Fall 2017 issue of Literary Journalism Studies. The abstract is below, and you can read the full article here.
Tracing the origins of literary journalism in the nineteenth century can be a daunting task because, as Norman Sims writes, the trail of literary journalism “vanishes into a maze of local publications.” And yet it is widely accepted that the trail indeed begins there, in a time when distinctions between literature and journalism were not as clearly de ned as they are today. Eventually, however, forces such as the rise of the ideal of objectivity in journalism, the shift from sentimentalism to realism in literature, and the institutionalization of both fields ensured that the two would, by the end of the century, be wrenched apart. And yet, amidst this fracturing, the hybrid genre of literary journalism was simultaneously being born. Sims points to the journalistic sketch as the origin of literary journalism in the nineteenth century, and in so doing privileges realism in his creation story. But, as this study illustrates, the story goes back a bit further, into the height of sentimentalism and a time before literature and journalism became distinct genres. This inquiry revisits this origin story with a particular eye to the role that women, writing in the sentimental mode, played in the creation of literary journalism.