Dr. Earl F. Yarington III is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Modern Languages at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania where he teaches courses in writing and literature. He earned his Ph.D. in Literature and Criticism from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Yarington has published works on such writers as Rita Dove, Thomas Paine, Mary Jane Holmes and Mary Austin.
2007 0-7734-5438-1 This work seeks to rediscover the fiction of Mary Jane Holmes (1825-1907) and examine contrasting factors which made her work popular in the nineteenth century but virtually unknown in the twentieth century. The emphasis of the study is on cultural poetics and feminism, establishing a critique of how late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century critics decontextualized Holme’s work which resulted in their inability to recognize the cultural work that her fiction performed for both the middle-class and mass readership of her day. In contrast to such readings, this study constitutes an argument for the relational value of Holmes’s narratives. By focusing on the work of such critics as Jane Tompkins, Nancy Chodorow, Stephan Greenblatt, Mary Louise Kete, Joanne Dobson and Carol Gilligan, a new and much needed theory is established for examining the texts that appeal to Holmes’s audience, while uncovering the cultural value of popular sentimental works such as those that Holmes creates. The theory developed is then utilized to examine various aspects of relational capacity that women writers present and that their works are based on, enabling them to relate to their culture and readers. The theory provides a means of analyzing popular women writers who have been undervalued by the academy, which has been founded on masculine doctrine.