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The Morgesons

Elizabeth Stoddard

Book Overview: 

Stoddard’s novel traces the education and development of a young female in American middle-class society. The protagonist, Cassandra Morgeson, is educated by a series of journeys she makes throughout her youth and early adulthood. Each new setting represents a different stage in her intellectual development.
Cassandra is born in Surrey, a small New England town. Surrey is quiet and isolated, granting a young woman little intellectual stimulation. Cassandra escapes the boredom of domestic life through stories of adventure and exploration. Surrey instills in Cassandra a restlessness that drives her quest for knowledge and experience.
(Introduction by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .d me nothing in the world must disturb her, till she had finished an account of the city of Palmiry," said Temperance.

"Call her when supper is ready," replied mother, who asked me to come into the bedroom where Arthur was sleeping. He was a handsome child, large and fair, and as I lifted his white, lax fingers, a torrent of love swept through me, and I kissed him.

"I am afraid I make an idol of him, Cassy."

"Are you unhappy because you love him so well, mother, and feel that you must make expiation?"

"Cassandra," she spoke with haste, "did you experience any shadow of a change during the revival at Barmouth?"

"No more than the baby here did."

"I shall have faith, though, that it will be well with you, because you have had the blessing of so good a man as your grand'ther."

"But I never heard a word of grand'ther's praye. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is a wonderful, strange, and radical novel. Enchanting and perplexing, yet full of little details that create a feeling akin to realism, especially for a modern reader, as Cassandra and her family almost seem to have been stolen from the future. I do not understand reviews calling it dull, f...more

"That child," said my aunt Mercy, looking at me with indigo-colored eyes, "is possessed."

Have you heard of Elizabeth Stoddard? I hadn't either. Not until I stumbled across this book while looking for Steinbeck. In the introduction, it explains a bit why this author fell into obscurity...more

2.5★

If you are from the States, you may have a different perspective on this novel. It was very unusual for a North American woman to be writing novels in this era (the 1860s) & Cassandra was such a different heroine - outspoken, ungracious & unpredictable.

But the plot (if you could call it that) became stalled...more

I was looking for an untypical nineteenth century novel and The Morgesons satisfied me to a great degree. Especially the first half of the book, where a lot more action was happening, characters were quite unconventional and conversations witty. After that it gets a bit dull. As some reviewers me...more

Una sorpresa questo romanzo della letteratura americana caduto nell'oblio per più di 100 anni.
Uno stile narrativo assolutamente moderno, originale, poetico, surreale, con una forte personalità, come quella della sua autrice, difficile da classificare o incasellare.
Romanzo di formazione ric...more

The Morgesons starts out great. Stoddard's writing blew me away and seemed to be right on the cusp of a Modernist voice. This enthusiasm lasted for around half of the book, though, and started to become flat after Cassandra returns home from Charles and Alice's house. The last half of the book is...more

3.5 slightly confused stars.

This novel is a rarity, in that it is an American novel of the Victorian era written by a woman. It is full of New England whale-oil financed lifestyles, and paints a fascinating female perspective of the time.

In the beginning, it felt like this...more

It took me three attempts to finish reading this book. The writing style is not my favorite, but the story itself was interesting. It's a more modern take (for the time in which it was written) on following the life of a woman, from childhood to adulthood. I didn't always like the things that Cas...more

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