Of Early Exits and Exclamation Points

Tombstones All In A Row

Mary Virginia Terhune (“Marion Harland”) was a prolific author of domestic advice books in the late 1800s. Her warmth and humor made her one of the most popular writers of her day, but at times her thinking offers a disquieting glimpse into the early growth of the American eugenics movement. Continue reading

Great Droppings from a Bird of Paradise

bird of paradise

In my last post, “Heart Histories,” I introduced my readers to the nineteenth-century novelist Mary Virginia Terhune (penname Marion Harland).  I shared a scene from her second novel, The Hidden Path (1855), in which four young friends contemplate the hidden heroism in the lives of seemingly ordinary people, and conclude that the dramas in the history books would pale beside these “heart-histories,” could they only be recorded.  The theoretical Frank and serene Maurice are in agreement on this point.  So are the women who complete the quartet, Bella and Isabel, and these two personify another dimension of the dilemma of invisible valiance. Continue reading