By Sheila L. Skemp
Judith Sargent Murray (1751-1820), poet, essayist, playwright, and the most thoroughgoing advocates of women's rights in early the US, was once in addition recognized in her personal day as Abigail Adams or Martha Washington. Her identify, although, has nearly disappeared from the general public cognizance. due to the new discovery of Murray's papers—including a few 2,500 own letters—historian Sheila L. Skemp has documented the compelling tale of this gifted and most original eighteenth-century woman.
Born in Gloucester, Massachussetts, Murray moved to Boston in 1793 along with her moment husband, Universalist minister John Murray. There she grew to become a part of the city's literary scene. of her performs have been played at Federal highway Theater, making her the 1st American girl to have a play produced in Boston. There besides she wrote and released her magnum opus, The Gleaner, a three-volume "miscellany" that integrated poems, essays, and the novel-like tale "Margaretta." After 1800, Murray's output reduced and her hopes for literary renown pale. being affected by the backlash opposed to women's rights that had all started to permeate American society, suffering from financial problems, and anxious approximately delivering the absolute best schooling for her daughter, she dedicated little time to writing. yet whereas her efforts decreased, they by no means ceased.
Murray was resolute to go beyond the bounds that constrained ladies of her period and labored tirelessly to have girls granted an analogous correct to the "pursuit of happiness" immortalized within the statement of Independence. She wondered the that means of gender itself, emphasizing the human features women and men shared, arguing that the plain differences have been the end result of nurture, now not nature. even though she used to be upset within the result of her efforts, Murray however left a wealthy highbrow and literary legacy, within which she challenged the recent kingdom to meet its promise of equality to all citizens.
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First Lady of Letters: Judith Sargent Murray and the Struggle for Female Independence (Early American Studies) by Sheila L. Skemp