While largely forgotten today, Sadlier's work stands as an
important part of American literary history.
First, in New Lights; or Life in Galway (1851),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
Critical Introduction to the Work of Mary Anne Sadlier
Mary Anne Sadlier's Biography
Women and Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America
The Domestic Novel
The Irish Domestic Servant
Nineteenth-Century Women Writers
Ireland and Catholicism
Living Conditions on New York's Lower East Side (1840-1900)
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