The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley: The Life of Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley

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9781611680317: The Remarkable Mrs. Ripley: The Life of Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley

A contemporary of Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and other New England Renaissance figures, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley (1793–1867) is largely unknown to today’s readers. Although she left no published works, Sarah is frequently mentioned in letters and journals written by her fellow intellectuals. She was a self-educated classical scholar who was well versed in languages and the sciences, ran a boarding school with her Unitarian minister husband to prepare boys for Harvard College, and raised seven children. Legend has it that she simultaneously rocked a cradle, shelled peas, heard one boy recite his Latin and another, his Greek.

In this first biography of the remarkable Mrs. Ripley, Joan W. Goodwin draws on Sarah’s letters and the writings of her contemporaries to paint as full a picture as possible of a compelling figure known until now only as a literary footnote. Goodwin reveals the inner drama of a woman’s lonely struggle to reconcile the liberal Christian worldview with her own increasing skepticism, and her traditional domestic role with the pursuit of intellectual attainments. The author’s skillful presentation of primary materials allows Sarah to speak to the reader in her own voice, particularly through her correspondence with Mary Moody Emerson and Abigail Allyn Francis, lending insight into the anguish that shaped much of her life.

In a biography as distinctive as the celebrated woman it depicts, the author re-creates the life and times of Mrs. Ripley and rescues an overlooked New Englander from obscurity. This is a captivating story that will appeal to historians and general readers alike.

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About the Author:

JOAN W. GOODWIN (1926–2006) was an independent scholar who worked for several years for the Unitarian Universalist Association.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A well-meaning biography, mired in detail. Goodwin, an independent scholar formerly with with the Unitarian Universalist Association, may win the prize for laboring longest on a biography: 40-plus years. Ironically, the book might have been more readable had she not been quite so meticulous. The subject, absorbing and worthy of study: Sarah Ripley, a Boston teacher, mother, pastor - s wife, and one of the most learned women of the 19th century. Scioness of both the Bradford and Alden families of colonial Massachusetts, Ripley was the eldest daughter of a prosperous sea captain. Her mother - s lingering illness and eventual death forced Sarah to take responsibility for several of her younger siblings, setting a pattern of domestic constancy that would enable her to raise her own children (seven of them), take in an orphaned niece, and serve as teacher and den mother to the countless boys enrolled in her husband - s boarding school. What sets Ripley apart from other women of her era is her own astonishing erudition. A true intellectual, she would parse Greek and Latin verbs by candlelight and read the great philosophers while stirring the sauce. The Emersons were her neighbors and friends (Ralph Waldo wrote her obituary, which Goodwin uses as a fitting prologue for the book). Unfortunately, the biographer focuses so intimately on the daily dramas of Ripley - s domestic life that we only rarely can glean where her story fits into the larger context of 19th-century American womanhood. In part, this is because Ripley left no published works, only letters, and eschewed public participation in such issues as abolition and women - s rights. (Her staid husband also may have curtailed her activism and public voice; he once threatened to burn her writings when she quoted Virgil.) Goodwin should resist her tendency to lose sight of the forest for the trees. (11 b&w illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description University Press of New England, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A contemporary of Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and other New England Renaissance figures, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley (1793-1867) is largely unknown to today s readers. Although she left no published works, Sarah is frequently mentioned in letters and journals written by her fellow intellectuals. She was a self-educated classical scholar who was well versed in languages and the sciences, ran a boarding school with her Unitarian minister husband to prepare boys for Harvard College, and raised seven children. Legend has it that she simultaneously rocked a cradle, shelled peas, heard one boy recite his Latin and another, his Greek. In this first biography of the remarkable Mrs. Ripley, Joan W. Goodwin draws on Sarah s letters and the writings of her contemporaries to paint as full a picture as possible of a compelling figure known until now only as a literary footnote. Goodwin reveals the inner drama of a woman s lonely struggle to reconcile the liberal Christian worldview with her own increasing skepticism, and her traditional domestic role with the pursuit of intellectual attainments. The author s skillful presentation of primary materials allows Sarah to speak to the reader in her own voice, particularly through her correspondence with Mary Moody Emerson and Abigail Allyn Francis, lending insight into the anguish that shaped much of her life. In a biography as distinctive as the celebrated woman it depicts, the author re-creates the life and times of Mrs. Ripley and rescues an overlooked New Englander from obscurity. This is a captivating story that will appeal to historians and general readers alike. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9781611680317

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Book Description University Press of New England, United States, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A contemporary of Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and other New England Renaissance figures, Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley (1793-1867) is largely unknown to today s readers. Although she left no published works, Sarah is frequently mentioned in letters and journals written by her fellow intellectuals. She was a self-educated classical scholar who was well versed in languages and the sciences, ran a boarding school with her Unitarian minister husband to prepare boys for Harvard College, and raised seven children. Legend has it that she simultaneously rocked a cradle, shelled peas, heard one boy recite his Latin and another, his Greek. In this first biography of the remarkable Mrs. Ripley, Joan W. Goodwin draws on Sarah s letters and the writings of her contemporaries to paint as full a picture as possible of a compelling figure known until now only as a literary footnote. Goodwin reveals the inner drama of a woman s lonely struggle to reconcile the liberal Christian worldview with her own increasing skepticism, and her traditional domestic role with the pursuit of intellectual attainments. The author s skillful presentation of primary materials allows Sarah to speak to the reader in her own voice, particularly through her correspondence with Mary Moody Emerson and Abigail Allyn Francis, lending insight into the anguish that shaped much of her life. In a biography as distinctive as the celebrated woman it depicts, the author re-creates the life and times of Mrs. Ripley and rescues an overlooked New Englander from obscurity. This is a captivating story that will appeal to historians and general readers alike. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9781611680317

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