While largely forgotten today, Sadlier's work stands as an
important part of American literary history.
First, Sadlier was one of the first fiction writers to address the Irish
Famine. In addition, Sadlier's novels narrate that
other great journey west across the frontier -- the trans-Atlantic
voyage west of millions of immigrants.
Sadlier's novels ask us to redefine
our conception of the nineteenth-century American genres.
What does it mean, for example, when the rugged individual lighting
out for the territories is not Natty Bumpo or Huck Finn, but an eighteen-year
-old domestic servant named Bessy Conway?
The Mary Anne Sadlier Archive is designed to stimulate critical
discussion of this important and fascinating writer. Sadlier's novels are
now out of print and can be read at only a handful of libraries. By putting Sadlier's novel
on-line, I hope to get her work out of the "rare book room" and back into
circulation. From this web site, you will be able to read one of Sadlier's
domestic novels, Bessy Conway, the story of an Irish domestic servant
who journeys to American to see the world and make her fortune during the
era of the Great Famine. You will also be able to access a critical introduction
to her work, related links and information about Sadlier's cultural context,
the most comprehensive
biographical sketch available, a complete bibliography of all of her works as well
an extensive bibliography of related material.
Bessy Conway; or, The Irish Girl in America. 1861
Irish History Women and Domesticity in 19th-Century America The Domestic Novel The Irish Domestic Servant Nineteenth-Century Women Writers Anti-Immigrant Sentiment in Mid-Nineteenth Century America Living Conditions in New York's Lower East Side (1840-1900)
The Irish Famine Victorian Women Writers
Maintained by Liz Szabo at the University of Virginia.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org