In the first decades of the twentieth century, famed Atlantic Monthly editor Ellery Sedgwick chose to publish a group of nontraditional writers he later referred to as “Faraway Women,” working-class authors living in the western United States far from his base in Boston. Cathryn Halverson surveys these enormously popular Atlantic contributors, among them a young woman raised in Oregon lumber camps, homesteaders in Wyoming, Idaho, and Alberta, and a world traveler who called Los Angeles and Honolulu home.
Faraway Women and the “Atlantic Monthly” examines gender and power as it charts an archival journey connecting the least remembered writers and readers of the time with one of its most renowned literary figures, Gertrude Stein. It shows how distant friends, patrons, publishers, and readers inspired, fostered, and consumed the innovative life narratives of these unlikely authors, and it also tracks their own strategies for seizing creative outlets and forging new protocols of public expression. Troubling binary categories of east and west, national and regional, and cosmopolitan and local, the book recasts the coordinates of early twentieth-century American literature.