Rebecca Harding Davis entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Rebecca Harding Davis published in the later nineteenth-century United States over 500 works, including novels, short fiction, sketches, and social commentary that turned away from romanticism and sentimental fiction to a distinctively American, proletarian realism. Bibliographic Citation link. She also developed an extensive career contributing articles and stories to the periodical press. In the context of the turmoil over early feminism and the Civil War, and with the insight gained from her own struggles as a writing woman, she created stories about contemporary social issues that earned her the label, from Henry James, of "the poet of poor people." Bibliographic Citation link. Owing to the extent of her ouevre, only a part of it is discussed here.
24 June 1831 Rebecca Blaine Harding (later RHD) was born at 73 South Main Street in Washington, Pennsylvania, USA (close to Pittsburgh). Bibliographic Citation link.
April 1861 RHD's first and most successful publication, the novella or short story "Life in the Iron-Mills", appeared anonymously in the Atlantic Monthly to instant literary recognition. It remains her most widely read piece of fiction. Bibliographic Citation link.
1904 RHD published at Boston her autobiographical Bits of Gossip. This book, re-issued at New York the following year, proved to be her last full-length work. Bibliographic Citation link.
29 September 1910 RHD, at her son Richard's Mount Kisco estate, died from oedema of the lungs brought on by combined stroke and heart failure. Bibliographic Citation link.
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