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Grant number like: FZ-261408-18

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Devoney K. Looser
Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ 85281-3670)

Public Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019

Biography of Sisters Jane Porter (1775–1850) and Anna Maria Porter (1778–1832), 19th-Century British Novelists

Research and writing of a book on British sister novelists Jane Porter (1775-1850) and Anna Maria Porter (1778-1832), contemporaries of Jane Austen.

Decades before the Brontës, Jane Porter (1775-1850) and Anna Maria Porter (1778-1832) burst onto the literary scene. The Porters unabashedly published as sisters, signing their names to dozens of novels, poems, and plays. They were pioneering, single career women at a moment of cultural change, negotiating the literary marketplace with the marriage marketplace. They were widely fêted and admired. But as they reveal in moving, unpublished letters, they paid a steep price. For a woman, Anna Maria concluded, public fame was the death knell of private happiness. To add insult to injury, their fall from popularity was so precipitous that few today have heard of them. My book, Sister Novelists, is poised to be the first biography of the Porter sisters, sharing for the first time stories of their accomplished, lovelorn, and complicated lives. It promises to shift understandings of struggles faced by the first generations of professional women writers in the age of Jane Austen.