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A Romance of the Republic , published in 1867, was Lydia Maria Child’s fourth novel and the capstone of her remarkable literary career. Written shortly after the Civil War, it offered a progressive alternative to Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Writer, magazine publisher and outspoken abolitonist, Child defied the norms of gender and class decorum in this novel by promoting interracial marriage as a way blacks and whites could come to view each other with sympathy and understanding. In constructing the tale of fair-skinned Rosa and Flora Royal—daughters of a slaveowner whose mother was also the daughter of a slaveowner—Child consciously attempted to counter two popular claims: that racial intermarriage was “unnatural” and that slavery was a benevolent institution. But Child’s target was not merely racism. Her characters are forced both to reconsider their attitudes toward “white” and “black” and to question the very foundation of the patriarchal society in which they live. Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) is perhaps best known today as the editor of Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl . She also founded the first children’s magazine in America, Juvenile Miscellany , and compiled a highly successful domestic advice manual for women, The Frugal Housewife.
Writer, magazine publisher and outspoken abolitionist, Lydia Maria Child defied the norms of gender and class decorum in her 1867 novel promoting interracial marriage as a way blacks and whites could come to view each other with sympathy and understanding.Nelson's introduction provides a historical context for the novel and a balanced overview of Child's progressive but limited understanding of black women and black culture. -- American Literature
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Interracial marriage, Fiction
Literature in English, North America
Child, Lydia Maria and Nelson, Dana D., "A Romance of the Republic" (1997). Literature in English, North America. 9.