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EARLY SUCCESS AS A WRITER

Augusta Jane Evans’ first novel Inez:  A Tale of the Alamo sold few copies but encouraged the young author to continue her efforts to achieve literary success, partly as a way to help her family escape the financial difficulties that had followed them since Matthew Evans went bankrupt in Georgia.  The publication of her second novel Beulah took Augusta to New York City where she was introduced to the literary world and fell in love with editor James Reed Spaulding.  In New York she also met Rachel Lyons, a young Jewish woman from South Carolina with whom Augusta formed a close friendship.

Published in 1859, Beulah was a pronounced success, selling 22,000 copies and providing Augusta with sufficient funds to buy Georgia Cottage, the house her family had been renting on Spring Hill Avenue in Mobile.   She was only twenty-four years old and had already mastered the literary genre called ‘domestic fiction’ whose popularity drove Nathaniel Hawthorne to distraction, calling the successful female writers of such fiction a ‘damned mob of scribbling women.’

For Augusta Jane Evans, novels were a vehicle for working out the questions and issues that occupied her mind.   In Beulah, it was her personal conflict over religion.   Soon, it would be the defense of the South.

Click on the links in the left sidebar or on the chapter headings below:

The Angel in the House

Those 'damned scribbling women'

Augusta's Byronic heroines

Success in New York City