TLW Season 2_Twitter 17-08-20TeawithTLW
“Coming Home: Wharton’s War Stories”
Dr Alice Kelly
Wednesday 2 September, 5pm UK time

Please join us for the first of our new monthly Teas with Transatlantic Literary Women, when we’re delighted to be welcoming the brilliant Dr Alice Kelly, who’ll be talking about her hot off the press monograph Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War (2020) and focusing for us, in particular, on Edith Wharton’s war stories.

Screenshot 2020-08-24 at 12.04.00Wharton, considered primarily a novelist of America’s Gilded Age, also wrote about strikingly contemporary political issues. This talk focuses on her wartime story ‘Coming Home’, published in the Christmas 1915 edition of Scribner’s Magazine. Although Wharton was never officially recruited as a propagandist, in ‘Coming Home’ she considers the public appetite for war stories and plays with different modes of wartime propaganda. Alice explores her use of the revenge narrative, a genre which enabled the textual enactment of readers’ fantasies of retribution. Revenge stories such as this one demonstrate established writers tackling the uncomfortable emotions and ethical justifications surrounding wartime death, and the difficulties of being aware of the human costs of American entry into the war. More broadly, this talk considers the ways in which transatlantic and other literary women dealt with the problem of the war dead.

To read the story in advance, you can find it here, pp. 45-97. (Not compulsory!)

If you’d like to join us, please email us at and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.

We hope to see you there!
Team TLW: Laura, Chiara and Lindsay

Alice Kelly is a literary and cultural critic based at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on early twentieth-century literary and cultural history in Britain and America. She is the author of Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War (2020). She has previously published a critical edition of Edith Wharton’s First World War reportage, Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort (2015), and various essays on modernist and First World War literature, including a previously unknown First World War story by Edith Wharton in the Times Literary Supplement. Find out more about Alice’s work at:






Tea with TLW: Coming up in Autumn

TLW Season 2_Twitter 17-08-20

Team TLW Looking Ahead…

And that’s a wrap!

Wednesday saw our *fifteenth* and final summer #TeawithTLW, the Transatlantic Literary Women’s weekly series where we invited you to join us in covid lockdown and beyond for tea, cake, friendly chat, talks and TLW book club. It’s been a lot of fun, and we’d like to say a huge thank you toeveryone who’s been part of the series in any way.

While lockdown and travel restrictions mean we haven’t been able to meet in person, there are silver linings. The team has loved hosting the online series and we’ve been delighted to welcome TLW friends from Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Italy, China and beyond…Thank you all for coming!

We don’t want to lose our new friends, so we’ll be keeping some of our programme online moving forward, even when restrictions are lifted. For now, though, everything has to be online. So, what’s next for TLW? With many of us gearing up for a new academic session – and for some it’s already underway – we’re moving now from a weekly Tea to a regular monthly Tea, with a few extra favourites (like Chiara’s  book club!) inbetween. We’ll keep the format, but will meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the slightly later time of 5pm in the UK. It’s the usual TLW mantra: informal, friendly, free. And yes, we still want you to bring tea and cake and your best virtual backgrounds!

In team news, we’ve really missed our TLW team-mate Anna this summer, and we hope she’ll be back with us soon. Good luck with the thesis Anna!

Our first new monthly #TeawithTLW is on Wednesday 2 September, 5pm, when we’re delighted to be welcoming the brilliant Dr Alice Kelly, who’ll be talking about her  hot-off-the press new book, Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War. Please save the date, and we’ll post the details next week. We hope to see you there!

Team TLW: Laura, Chiara and Lindsay


Tea with TLW #8: Quotes for Stephanie Palmer’s Talk on Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers

(Featured Image: Breakfast Time by Hanna Hirsch-Pauli, 1887)

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Tea with TLW #8: Stephanie Palmer on Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers.
Wed 1 July 2020, 4pm GMT.

This Wednesday at 4pm, the #TeawithTLW series continues with a talk from Dr Stephanie Palmer, based on her new book – Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers. More information about the talk can be found here, and you can read more about the book here:

Prior to her talk, Stephanie has provided some quotations discussed in the book; only a few of them will be addressed on Wednesday, but feel free to read them below in order to whet your appetite before the discussion.

As usual, we are looking forward to seeing you, enjoying some tea and cake and having a fascinating discussion about transatlantic women’s writing. If you’d like to join us, please email us at and we will send a secure Zoom link on the day.

We hope to see you there!

TeamTLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara and Lindsay

‘As the reader passes through the various perspectives offered by the text, and relates the different views and patterns to one another, he sets the work in motion, and so sets himself in motion, too.’ – Wolfgang Iser, ‘Interaction between Text and Reader’

‘This is outwardly one of a class of books on which we look with the extremest aversion. It seems part of a pietistic literature, without knowledge, without an attempt at a scientific theology, the volumes of which are mostly a hash of texts in a nauseating Calvinistic sauce. Such little volumes are terrible when they come from Scotland, as do a vast number of them, but then we are not obliged to read them. If, on the other hand, they come from America, they are doubly terrible, because there is a certain fascination and freshness in almost all American prose writing which induces us to skim the pages to our intellectual harm and moral disgust. We have no doubt many of our readers sympathize with us, and if they should chance to take up “The Gates Ajar,” would lay it down all the more quickly if they saw “Sixth Edition,” or such and such a “Thousand,” on the title-page. For they have learnt by long and sad experience that popular theology is scarce worthy the name, and popular piety extremely irreverent.

‘But they would do Miss or Mrs. Phelps an injustice, and deprive themselves of a great pleasure, if they thus treated this singularly beautiful little book. If the buyers of all the editions really understood its drift, the creed of the people is in a far healthier state than we have believed it. If not, may many more thousands be sold, that the change may be wrought insensibly.’ – C. Kegan Paul, Review ofThe Gates Ajar, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Theological Review, 1870

‘It is not given to a male writer thus to pourtray [sic] the very core and essence of a woman’s life—to penetrate into that innermost sanctuary wherein the greatest issues so frequently turn upon apparently infinitesimal causes!

‘Of the twenty-six almost perfect idylls of which the two volumes respectively entitled A Humble Romance and A Far Away Melody are composed but very few deal with the ordinary materials of romance, or concern themselves with the joys and sorrows of the conventional girl heroine and her lover.’

‘Story after story recounts the simple interests, the homely sorrows of the old, the poor, and the lowly, and deals with the lives of commonplace people. It is of their passionate attachments, of their profound tenderness, that the sketches tell. The exquisite sketch which gives its name to one of the volumes relates the story of two plain sisters, possessing no beauty of face nor any intellectual culture, who had walked hand in land for a long lifetime along a thorny road of humble duty, of homely toil, until the cruel moment of separation came at last. The story is full of poetry and pathos.’ – Review of A Far Away Melody, and Other Stories, A Humble Romance, and Other Stories, by Mary E. Wilkins, Shafts, 1890

‘We could not easily find a more powerful or pathetic love story than that of Alessandro and the beautiful “Señorita” [. . .] who has stooped to a suitor of such low degree. But the tale can scarcely fail to have another aspect for many of its readers. It is another voice of witness to the charge of monstrous cruelty and injustice on the part of the States to the Indian populations which have fallen under their power, a charge supported by testimony from all parts of the continent, and never, as far as we know, contradicted. It makes one’s blood boil to read of these wholesale robberies of land, held by a tenure really as good in equity as the most stringent conveyance, which citizens of the States have committed, and its Governments allowed. [. . .] Our record in the matter of native tribes is not blameless, but it does not approach the infamy of these proceedings.’ – Review of Ramona, by Helen Hunt Jackson, Pall Mall Gazette, 1885

‘In exciting here as profound and unflagging an interest as in “The House of Mirth” Mrs. Wharton must be credited with an even greater success. The tragedy of Lily Bart was that she was really fitted for a higher destiny than that of a social parasite. Here we have the deeper tragedy of a complete correspondence between character and destiny. Undine Spragg is the petted only child of a homely, well-off couple [. . .] Meanwhile Undine has come up against the blank wall of French aristocratic tradition, and has realized that there is no loophole there for American feminine arrogance. [. . .] Meanwhile the European reader is left in a state of perhaps illusory thankfulness that passionless, capricious, and ignorant monsters like Undine are as yet confined to the country that deliberately engenders them.’ – Review of The Custom of the Country, Glasgow Herald, 1913.

‘Who but a Sunday editor, undoubtedly the most easily startled of human beings, could feel the least surprise at this steady damnation of the American wife, whether by foreign observer or by native novelist? Take, for example, the British weekly magazines. Years ago they formed the habit of exposing her and they would no more dream of leaving off now than of omitting the article on “What the Birds Are Doing in Devonshire.” Time and again they have burst out upon the American woman all at once, as when one Dr. Andrew McPnail, some three years ago, called her a Hanoverian rat, a San Joséscale, a noxious weed, a jade, a giantess, and a potato-bug, and was immediately copied approvingly by the other British magazines, and widely quoted on the Continent.’ – F.M. Colby, ‘The Book of the Month’, North American Review, 1914.

Tea with TLW #8 – Dr. Stephanie Palmer on Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers

TLW Season 2_Facebook
#TeawithTLW8 – Dr. Stephanie Palmer on Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers
Wed 1 July, 4pm UK time
A huge thank you to everyone who’s been to our #TeawithTLW events taking place this summer. It’s been great fun–and the team has loved welcoming everyone on Wednesday afternoons for tea, friendly chat, bookclubs and talks. One advantage of us having to head to Zoom for our meets this summer has been the chance to host TLW friends from all over the world!

After seven weekly events, we’re taking a one-week midterm break. We’ll be back though, on Wed 1 July when we look forward to welcoming Dr. Stephanie Palmer to talk about her new book, Transatlantic Footholds: Turn-of-the-Century American Women Writers and British Reviewers. This is right up Team TLW’s research street!

In her book, Stephanie analyses British reviews of American women fiction writers, essayists and poets between the periods of literary domesticity and modernism, and explores the ways in which reviewers read American women as literary artists, as women and as Americans. While their notion of who counted as “women” was too limited by race and class, reviewers eagerly read these writers for insight about how women around the world were entering debates on women’s place, the class struggle, religion, Indian policy, childrearing, and high society. In the process, by reading American women in varied ways, reviewers became hybrid and dissenting readers. Writers discussed include Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Helen Hunt Jackson , Zitkala-Ša and Edith Wharton. Join Stephanie and TeamTLW on 1 July to find out more!

Further information on Stephanie’s book can be found here:

If you’d like to join us for tea, please email us at: and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.

We hope to see you there!

TeamTLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara and Lindsay

#TeawithTLW #6 – Daphne Du Maurier Bookclub

TLW Season 2_Facebook

#TeawithTLW June 10th – Bookclub

As part of our ongoing summer series, next week we’ll be virtually recreating one of our regular events – the TLW Bookclub! We miss sitting around and discussing books with you all, so we thought it would be a good chance to get together and have a discussion about a transatlantic woman author. So, changing things up slightly and departing from our very successful run of papers and discussions, we’ll be focusing on short stories and we’re starting with ‘The Doll’ by Daphne Du Maurier which you can read here.

We all need a break every now and then, so grab a cup of tea, some cake, and give it a read. Then join us for virtual tea and snacks as we discuss all things Du Maurier and no doubt end up comparing Zoom backgrounds…!

If you’d like to join us, please email us at: and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.
We hope to see you there!
TeamTLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara and Lindsay

Guest Blog – Sui Sin Far and the Making of the Chinese North American Identity

Guest Blog by Alexandra Abletshauser
Doctoral Researcher
University of Glasgow

Sui Sin Far and the Making of the Chinese North American Identity

Screenshot 2020-05-22 at 17.11.19

‘I give my right hand to the Occidentals and my left to the Orientals, hoping that between them they will not utterly destroy the insignificant “connecting link.”’ (Sui Sin Far [1909] 2011: 233) This statement appears 1909 in an essay with the title ‘Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian’ by Sui Sin Far, published in the American periodical The Independent.[1]Who was Sui Sin Far and why was the writer afraid of being torn apart by ‘the Occidentals’ and ‘the Orientals’?

Sui Sin Far is the pen name of Edith Maude Eaton who is considered to be one of the first Asian North American writers. She was born in 1865 in England to a Chinese mother and an English father. In her early childhood, the family moved to the United States and Canada. Eaton pursued a successful career as a writer in several locations in North America and in Jamaica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her work consists principally of texts about Chinese North Americans. She published widely in various Canadian and US periodicals, such the Canadian Dominion Illustrated, Land of Sunshine, theIndependent, the Montreal Daily Witnessand the Montreal Daily Star.[2]In addition, Eaton published a short story collection Mrs. Spring Fragrance(1912). Her interest in the plight of the Chinese North Americans and the choice of her pen name suggest a strong identification with her Chinese heritage. Zhen Liu explains in her doctoral thesis on twentieth-century Asian Canadian literature that Edith’s pen name is rooted in one of the languages spoken in China: ‘Sui Sin Far [] can be literally translated as “water-born flower”, a nickname for narcissus in Cantonese’ (2016: 70).


Screenshot 2020-05-22 at 17.11.00
Source: Library of America,

The period when Eaton started writing as a journalist and fiction writer was a time of heightened prejudice, racism and xenophobia against the Chinese in the United States and Canada. Both countries passed anti-Chinese legislation that aimed at first to prevent immigration and later completely banned it. In 1875, the United States passed the Page Act that aimed to prevent ‘the immigration of any subject of China, Japan, or any Oriental country, to the United States […] for lewd and immoral purposes’, such as prostitution. Indeed, the Chinese were stereotypically perceived as being ‘immoral’ and connected to prostitution, gambling and opium smoking. The Page Act was generally used to prevent Chinese women from immigrating to the USA. This led in turn to an increase of so-called bachelor households. The creation of all-male households and the link to ‘homosexuality hinted at by the term bachelor’, as Min Hyoung Song (2003) notes in article on sentimentalism in Sui Sin Far’s work, further increased the negative perception of the Chinese. The Chinese Exclusion Act from 1882 in the United States completely bans Chinese immigration. The Exclusion Act openly proclaimed that Chinese immigration ‘endangers the good order of certain localities’ (1882 ‘The Exclusion Act’: 245). Canada followed with similar legislation a couple of years later and passed in 1923 the Chinese Immigration Act, known as the Chinese Exclusion Act that also entirely banned Chinese immigration to Canada for several decades.

Why would a woman of English-Chinese descent who could pass as White – as Sui Sin Far describes in her essay – choose to publish under a Chinese pen name? The choice becomes even more surprising in hindsight when we consider that Eaton ‘grew up in a highly Westernized household and never visited China’ (Chu 2000: 99), as Patricia Chu states in her monograph on Asian writers. Dominika Ferens highlights in her biography of Edith Eaton that Eaton was raised in the ‘English Victorian culture’ and not the Chinese culture as her mother came to England during her childhood (2002: 5). In addition, Chu notes that Eaton only learned to speak Chinese later in her life during her work as a journalist (2000: 99). In her autobiographical essay, ‘Leaves’ (1909), Eaton, writing as Sui Sin Far, reflects upon her mixed descent:

I have come from a race on my mother’s side which is said to be the most stolid and insensible to feeling of all races, yet I look back over the years and see myself keenly alive to every shade of sorrow and suffering that it is almost a pain to live. […] And all the while the question of nationality perplexes my little brain. Why are we what we are? I and my brothers and sisters. Why did God make us to be hooted and stared at? Papa is English, mamma is Chinese. Why couldn’t we have been either one thing or the other? (Sui Sin Far [1909] 2011: 224-225).

Sui Sin Far describes the opposition between the stereotypical perception of the Chinese and her own emotional experience. Her reflections highlight the discrimination and exclusion, racism and xenophobia she experiences as a child and as an adult from both Europeans, European Americans and Chinese. Sui Sin Far picks up a stereotype of Chinese people and overturns it in this passage. She deconstructs the assumption that Chinese people are ‘stolid and insensible to feeling’ in highlighting her own heightened alertness of affect, both emotionally as well as intellectually, as she is ‘keenly alive to every shade of sorrow and suffering’. Sui Sin Far’s emotional experience challenges the categorization of the Chinese as being unfeeling and ‘insensible’ and asks ultimately the question to whom Sui Sin Far belongs, the Chinese or the Europeans, or some other group?

Sui Sin Far eventually resolves this question in stating that her identity is not simply a blending of the Chinese and the European identities, because an entirely new identity has emerged from the interaction between the two: ‘I am different to both [my father and my mother] – a stranger, tho their own child. “What are we?” I ask my brother. “It doesn’t matter, sissy,” he responds. But it does.’ (Sui Sin Far [1909] 2011: 222). As the title of her essay ‘Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian’ (my emphasis) suggests, Sui Sin Far invents her own identity as an Eurasian. As the quotation at the beginning of this blog demonstrates, Sui Sin Far’s Eurasian heritage draws equally from European (the ‘right’ hand) and Chinese cultures (the ‘left’ hand). Her experiences of racism, exclusion and xenophobia, however, highlight the instability of such identity categories that can be easily renounced and challenged. Sui Sin Far’s fear of being torn apart by the ‘Orientals’ and the ‘Occidentals’ further emphasises the fragility of her identity. The complex identity of Eaton as Sui Sin Far invites us to think about transcultural or even post-national identity categories.

Alexandra Abletshauser

Alexandra’s research focuses on English- and French-Canadian prose writing from 1880 to 1914. She examines how Canadian women writers use emotions to manipulate readers’ responses to political and social issues, such as women’s suffrage, alcoholism and temperance. Alexandra is also a Hunterian Associate at The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow where she explores the biographies of Native North American artefacts.



  1. ‘Chinese Exclusion Act’, repr. in Edith Maude Eaton/Sui Sin Far. [1912] 2011. Mrs. Spring Fragrance, ed. by Hsuan L. Hsu (Peterborough: Broadview Press), pp. 244-248.

Chapman, Mary. 2016. Becoming Sui Sin Far. Early Fiction, Journalism, and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton(Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Chu, Patricia P. 2000. Assimilating Asians. Gendered Strategies of Authorship in Asian America(Durham: Duke University Press)

Ferens, Dominika. 2002. Edith and Winnifred Eaton. Chinatown Missions and Japanese Romances(Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press)

Liu, Zhen. 2016. ‘A Liberating Inheritance: Chinese Canadian and Japanese Canadian Literature in English, 1970s-2000s’ (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Strathclyde)

Song, Min Hyoung. 2003. ‘Sentimentalism and Sui Sin Far’,Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 20.1-2, pp. 134-152, <|A111270412&v=2.1&it=r&sid=EAIM&asid=68f7cf74> [accessed 25 February 2020].

Sui Sin Far. [1909] 2011. ‘Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian’, The Independent, repr. in Edith Maude Eaton/Sui Sin Far. Mrs. Spring Fragrance, ed. by Hsuan L. Hsu (Peterborough: Broadview Press), pp. 221-233.

[1]The full text is available online:[accessed May 18, 2020].

[2]Mary Chapman’s monograph Becoming Sui Sin Far(2016) has republished several of Eaton’s early writing, such as her articles in the Montreal Daily Witnessand the Montreal Daily Star.




Tea with TLW #4 – Dr Sheila Liming on Edith Wharton and Libraries

Screenshot 2020-05-20 at 19.51.28Tea with TLW #4
Please join the team on Wednesday 27 May at 4PM UK time for our fourth #TeawithTLW.

It’ll be tea, cake and friendly chat as always, plus this week a very special guest- the brilliant Dr Sheila Liming who’ll be joining us to give a short talk on her hot-off-the-press new book.

In What a Library Means to a Woman: Edith Wharton and the Will to Collect Books (2020), Sheila explores the connection between libraries and self-making in late nineteen-and early twentieth-century American culture, from the 1860s to the 1930s, focusing on Wharton and her remarkable collection of books. Sheila argues for a multifaceted understanding of authorship by linking Wharton’s literary persona to her library, which was, as she saw it, the site of her self-making. This is Wharton – and more!

Don’t just take our word for it. The book has been called ‘an important examination of what the art of collecting books in the late nineteenth century tells us about how women writers and readers created networks of intellectual labor and ambition’, ‘an indispensable meditation on the act of collecting and the unseen worlds…created through it’ (Stephanie Foote).

This is a friendly, short, informal talk, with time for questions and chat. Come and hear about the ongoing work digitizing the Wharton library collection. And ask away. Why did Wharton claim her mother wouldn’t allow her to read novels? How was half of Wharton’s library destroyed? When and where was Wharton’s copy of Jane Eyre found? Which of the books are the most dog-eared, read and loved? How did Wharton annotate? How did the books return to her home at the Mount? What are the most revealing inscriptions?  Well, if you don’t come to #TeawithTLW and Dr Liming, you may never find out!

Read more about the book and about Sheila here:

If you’d like to join us, please email us at: and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.
We hope to see you there!
TeamTLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara and Lindsay

Tea with TLW #3

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Tea with TLW #3

Please join us on Wed 20 May at 4pm UK time for our third #TeawithTLW. It’ll be tea, cake and friendly chat. All welcome!

If you haven’t joined us at one of our teas yet, you might be wondering what to expect. Well, we launched our Tea with TLW series so we can all stay connected while we are adapting to the new normal. Every Wednesday at 4pm, we have a friendly virtual chat on Zoom. Some weeks we’ll have speakers giving short papers on their research or new publications, and some weeks it will  be a general friendly chat about what we are reading, researching and doing at the moment.
This week’s #TeawithTLW  is a general catch-up: a relaxed, informal virtual get-together, hopefully a fun, no-stress friendly hour in your day. Come and chat with like-minded peers. What are you reading at the moment? Are you returning to old favourites? Bring a favourite quote. Are you finding it difficult to read in lockdown? What are you researching? Or is it impossible to research? Conferences shelved? Where might you have been right now? (Whartonians were ready to “do New York”). What was your conference paper?  How have you found working from home? Want to run any ideas past a supportive group?
We’re here to chat anything and everything Transatlantic Literary Women and more –and we’d love to see you. Our TLW mantra: friendly, supportive, welcoming. Baking skills a bonus.

If you’d like to join us, please email us at: transatlantic.women@gmail.comand we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.

We hope to see you there!

Team TLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara, Lindsay


Tea With TLW #2 – Kristina West on Little Women

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Tea with TLW 

Wednesday 13 May 2020, 4PM UK Time

Please join us on Wed 13 May for our second #TeawithTLW. It’ll be tea, cake and friendly chat as before, only this time with a very special guest, Dr Kristina West, to talk all things Louisa May Alcott and Little Women!

Krissie is the author of  Louisa May Alcott and the Textual Child, and the forthcoming Reading the Salem Witch ChildLouisa May Alcott and the Textual Child examines constructions of children through the work of Alcott. Read about the book and see a free preview here: It’s just out, hot off the press from Palgrave, and we’re delighted that Krissie has agreed to join us for tea to talk about Alcott.

We know Louisa May Alcott is a firm TW favourite and that many of you have seen the recent film. In a short, informal talk, Krissie will reference the movie, the new upsurge of interest in Alcott’s work as a reason to revisit her children’s stories (yes, there’s more than Little Women and Good Wives!) and will ask us to think about what it means to read biographically and why readers of Alcott’s works  are especially prone to do this.

In a relaxed, friendly session, there’ll be lots of time for questions and chat. Bring your own tea, cake, pickled limes.
If you’d like to join us, please email us at: and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.

If you are joining us, here are some quotes that Krissie would like you to read before our discussion. And, click here for a discount flyer for Krissie’s wonderful new book on Alcott!

‘We really lived most of it’: Reading autobiography in the children’s works of Louisa May Alcott
Dr Krissie West

One of these problems is the attempt to define and to treat autobiography as if it were a literary genre among others. […] By making autobiography into a genre, one elevates it above the literary status of mere reportage, chronicle, or memoir and gives it a place, albeit a modest one, among the canonical hierarchies of the major literary genres.
Paul de Man, ‘Autobiography as de-facement’

Whether in the case of the woman writer struggling to transform the most painful aspect of her story into writing, or political actors brought face to face with the worst of their own past, the question is always: how do we negotiate the passage between those parts of ourselves which belong to others by the mere fact of being in the world, and those parts, sometimes too painful to contemplate, which we yet feel to be most fiercely our own?
Jacqueline Rose, On Not Being Able to Sleep

The peanut-crunching crowd

Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot—

The big strip tease.
Sylvia Plath, ‘Lady Lazarus’

The Marches send thier [sic] regards & are all robust except Marmee who is much broken & is now the cherished “old baby” as she calls herself. Amy is painting away in London & coming home to keep house in March. Meg & the lads are with us here in Boston for the winter. Mr. M. lectures & takes care of his large parish of young men & women. Jo is nurse, housekeeper, scribbler & Papa to the boys.
Louisa May Alcott, Letters

I should dearly love to record in a few tender pages, for other boys & girls to read & remember, this sweet & noble life whose influence is still felt, whose memory is still green in the hearts of many […] I give no names & merely use such characteristics, events & games as will give life to the picture.
Louisa May Alcott, Letters

I […] try to tell the history of a boy who really lived and really left behind him a memory so precious that it will not soon be forgotten by those who knew and loved him. For the influence of this short life was felt by many, and even this brief record of it may do for other children what the reality did for those who still lay flowers on his grave, and try to be “as good as Elly”.
Louisa May Alcott, Jack and Jill

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy werereal. Meg yearns for nicer clothes and wealthy society; Amy desires popularity, good looks, and admiration; Beth wishes for a voice and self-confidence; and Jo burns for fame and literary success. Their hopes and dreams are largely those shared by adolescents, then and now.
Dan Shealy, Introduction, An Annotated Little Women

[H]owever closely the critic tries to follow the currents of the writing, she is likely to feel this counter-flow, find herself drifting into her writers’ lives, into the inexorable logic of fame.
Jacqueline Rose, On Not Being Able to Sleep

We hope to see you there!

Team TLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara, Lindsay


Tea with TLW

Screenshot 2020-05-01 at 11.11.11   ‘Lily smiled faintly at the injunction to take her tea strong.
It was the temptation she was always struggling to resist.’
– Edith Wharton, House of Mirth

Tea with TLW
Wednesday 6 May, 4pm UK time

We miss you! How are you?

We’d like to invite you to tea with the Transatlantic Literary Women on Wed 6 May, 4pm UK time (hopefully not too early for TLW friends across the Atlantic.) We’d love to see you and hear from you. It’s an invitation open to all, whether you’ve been to all of our events, one or two of the events, or to date none of them at all. And if you’re not in Scotland and can’t make it to our in-person gatherings, here’s your chance.

Please join us for virtual tea with TLW. This is a relaxed, informal virtual get-together over drinks of your choice. Home-made cakes encouraged. Come and chat with like-minded peers. What are you reading at the moment? Are you returning to old favourites? Are you finding it difficult to read in lockdown? What are you researching? Or is it impossible to research? How would your favourite literary characters respond to lockdown? (Undine Spragg fading out of the limelight, or a social media star?)

We thought we might have a loose Edith Wharton theme for our first chat depending on who comes for tea, but if you’re not a Wharton person (painful to write) please don’t let that hold you back–it’s loose, very loose! We’re basically here to chat anything and everything Transatlantic Literary Women–and we’d love to see you. Our TLW mantra: friendly, supportive, welcoming. Baking skills a bonus.

If you’d like to join us, email us at: and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link on the day.

We hope to see you on Wednesday!

Team TLW: Laura, Anna, Chiara and Lindsay #teawithtlw