Articles

Sara Jeannette Duncan’s “Canadian Editions”: Imperial Authorship, Novel Innovations, and Literary Feminism in Cousin Cinderella

Author
  • Bridgette Brown (University of Ottawa and Algonquin College)

Abstract

This article examines the publishing conditions and reception history of Sara Jeannette Duncan’s satirical novel Cousin Cinderella: A Canadian Girl in London (1908). It contends that Duncan’s understanding of her reading audiences, and the gendered expectations of a woman writing in the early twentieth century, allowed her to advance the novel genre in an English imperial literary market. Cousin Cinderella foregrounds the circulation of people and printed material and is interested in their reading and interpretation through the networked connections that empire engenders. Indeed, Duncan’s global mobility and her perspective on Canada as a rejuvenating racial and economic presence in an enlarged world led her to the type of generic experimentation discerned in Cousin Cinderella and to a lesser extent The Imperialist of 1904. In Cousin Cinderella, Duncan extends both novelistic romance and realism through the trope of female authorship and the novel’s allegorised character Mary Trent. Through Mary, Duncan features women in race-making and nation-making projects, where sentimental marriage functions allegorically for practical political and economic ends. And like Mary, Duncan considered herself attached to Canada, as she established success in a market dominated by male authors and metropolitan markets. This article on an understudied novel in Duncan’s oeuvre brings together a study of authorship, literary analysis, and cultural history to contextualise and elucidate Duncan’s path-breaking career.

How to Cite:

Brown, B., (2021) “Sara Jeannette Duncan’s “Canadian Editions”: Imperial Authorship, Novel Innovations, and Literary Feminism in Cousin Cinderella”, Authorship 10(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/aj.v10i1.20632

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Published on
30 Jun 2021
Peer Reviewed