Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Nina Baym  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Born:

Sites:


Illinois Connection

The author is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Biographical and Professional Information

Baym is the general editor of The Norton Anthology of American Literature, she has written several books on nineteenth-century women writers, beginning with Woman's Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in America, 1820 - 70.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Women Writers of the American West, 1833-1927
ISBN: 0252035976

University of Illinois Press. 2011

Women Writers of the American West, 1833–1927 recovers the names and works of hundreds of women who wrote about the American West during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, some of them long forgotten and others better known novelists, poets, memoirists, and historians such as Willa Cather and Mary Austin Holley. Nina Baym mined literary and cultural histories, anthologies, scholarly essays, catalogs, advertisements, and online resources to debunk critical assumptions that women did not publish about the West as much as they did about other regions. Elucidating a substantial body of nearly 650 books of all kinds by more than 300 writers, Baym reveals how the authors showed women making lives for themselves in the West, how they represented the diverse region, and how they represented themselves.

Baym accounts for a wide range of genres and geographies, affirming that the literature of the West was always more than cowboy tales and dime novels. Nor did the West consist of a single landscape, as women living in the expanses of Texas saw a different world from that seen by women in gold rush California. Although many women writers of the American West accepted domestic agendas crucial to the development of families, farms, and businesses, they also found ways to be forceful agents of change, whether by taking on political positions, deriding male arrogance, or, as their voluminous published works show, speaking out when they were expected to be silent.

Feminism and American Literary History: Essays
ISBN: 0813518555

Rutgers University Press. 1992

Bodies may be currently fashionable in social and feminist theory, but their insides are not. Biological bodies always seem to drop out of debates about the body and its importance in Western culture. They are assumed to be fixed, their workings uninteresting or irrelevant to theory. Birke argues that these static views of biology do not serve feminist politics well. As a trained biologist, she uses ideas in anatomy and physiology to develop the feminist view that the biological body is socially and culturally constructed. She rejects the assumption that the body's functioning is somehow fixed and unchanging, claiming that biological science offers more than just a deterministic narrative of 'how nature works'. Feminism and the Biological Body puts biological science and feminist theory together and suggests that we need a politics which includes, rather than denies, our bodily flesh.

Woman's Fiction: A Guide to Novels by and about Women in America, 1820-70 (ACL-Mit Press Series in Natural)
ISBN: 025206285X

University of Illinois Press. 1993

130 NOVELS CONSIDERED BY 48 WOMEN.

American Women of Letters and the Nineteenth-Century Sciences: Styles of Affiliation
ISBN: 0813529859

Rutgers University Press. 2001

During the nineteenth century, the content and institutional organization of the sciences evolved dramatically, altering the public's understanding of knowledge. As science grew in importance, many women of letters tried to incorporate it into a female worldview. Nina Baym explores the responses to science displayed in a range of writings by American women. Conceding that they could not become scientists, women insisted, however, that they were capable of understanding science and participating in its discourse. They used their access to publishing to advocate the study and transmission of scientific information to the general public.

Bayms book includes biographies and a full exploration of these women's works. Among those considered are:
• Almira Phelps, author of Familiar Lectures on Botany (it sold 350,000 copies)
• Sarah Hale, who filled Godey's Lady's Book with science articles
• Catharine Esther Beecher, who based her domestic advice on scientific information
• Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, the actual ghostwriter of her husband's popular science essays
• Emily Dickinson, whose poetry is replete with scientific images.

Baym also investigates science in women's novels, writing by and about women doctors, and the scientific claims advanced by women's spiritualist movements. This book truly breaks new ground, outlining a field of inquiry that few have noted exists.

Shape of Hawthorne's Career
ISBN: 0801409969

Cornell University Press. 1976

Shape Of Hawthorne's Career, The by Baym, Nina. 8vo.

Masterwork Studies Series: The Scarlet Letter
ISBN: 0805779574

Twayne Publishers. 1986

Analyzes the plot, setting, characters, themes, and symbolism in Hawthorne's novel, and discusses the purpose of its "Custom-house" portion

Shape of Hawthorne's Career
ISBN: 0801409969

Cornell University Press. 1976

Shape Of Hawthorne's Career, The by Baym, Nina. 8vo.

American Women Writers and the Work of History, 1790-1860: Styles of Affiliation
ISBN: 0813521432

Rutgers University Press. 1995

Just as she helped launch the rediscovery of literary texts by American women writers, Nina Baym now uncovers the work of history performed by over 150 writers in over 350 texts. Here she explores a world of important writing unknown even to most specialists.

The novels, poems, plays, textbooks, and travel narratives written by women between 1790 and the Civil War defy current theories of women’s writing that stress a female domain of the private, homebound, and emotional.

History is inarguably public in its nature and these women wrote it.

In doing so, they challenged the imaginative and intellectual boundaries that divided domestic and public worlds.

They claimed on behalf of all women the rights to know and to speak about the world outside the home, as well as to circulate their knowledge and opinions among the public.

Their work helped shape the enormous public interest in history characteristic of the antebellum nation, and ultimately to forge our national identity in the history of the world. Nina Baym deftly outlines the master narrative of history implied in women’s writings of this period, and discusses in a completely revisioned context the emergence of women’s history in public discourse.


Awards

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