"Melissa Walker Heidari’s edition of Grace King’s journals should be welcomed as a great gift to all who know King’s work—and as a stunning discovery to those who do not. Heidari offers ample information on King’s background, ambitions, loyalties, and talent, but never overwhelms King’s own words. The journals present abundant fresh information on King’s life, opinions, and feelings, bringing to life a new dimension of this gifted and still inadequately appreciated writer."
—Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, author of Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South
Over a span of forty-six years, King produced four histories, three novels and two novellas, three collections of stories, two biographies, an autobiography, a play, and numerous articles and sketches. At age thirty-four she began a journal "to find my own peace in my own life." As Melissa Walker Heidari notes, King's journals offer "what is so lacking in her published autobiography: humor, irony, and a more candid assessment of herself and others. The Grace King of the autobiography is an interesting subject, but Grace King in her journals is alive and compelling." King's journals became a sourcebook for writing ideas, an outlet for opinions on current issues that she felt uncomfortable discussing publicly, and a record of her experiences at home and on her travels in the northern United States and Europe. She also used her journals as a form of therapy for her grief over the loss of loved ones and for her regrets, both personal and professional.
This volume comprises King's journals of 1886–1901, 1904, and 1907–1910. Heidari's introduction puts King's life and work in the context of recent scholarship in women's life narratives and discusses what the journals reveal about such topics as the lives of unmarried women in the nineteenth-century South, the ways Victorian families dealt with diseases like alcoholism and depression, and the challenges facing women writers of the period.
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