Women in the Literary Market 1800-1900

Mary Cholmondeley, 1859-1925
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Mary Cholmondeley’s most famous work, Red Pottage, made her reputation. Within two months of its initial release, the book had sold more than 18,000 copies in England alone.

Despite the book’s great success, however, the author received little money for it because she had sold the copyright. Cholmondeley was also clearly conflicted about her new-found literary celebrity: "I have not written a word since January," she noted in her journal that year. "But what a pity–just this year of all years to have written nothing when so much has been happening, when I am positively and actually that monster 'a celebrity,' which I may not be next year."

Red Pottage provides a powerful illustration of English provincial life, and of the limited opportun-ities available to unmarried women in the late nineteenth century. Published in a new edition in 1985 with an introduction by feminist critic Elaine Showalter, Red Pottage was resurrected at the end of the twentieth century as one of the most innovative and radical of New Woman novels.

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Mary Cholmondeley. Red Pottage. London: Edward Arnold, 1899.
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continue tour

early role models
entering the literary market
learned poets
getting into print
charlotte bronte and george eliot
sin and sensation
new women
L.T. Meade
the three volume format
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