Praised by her mentor John Adams, Mercy Otis Warren was America’s first woman playwright and female historian of the American Revolution. In this unprecedented biography, Nancy Rubin Stuart reveals how Warren’s provocative writing made her an exception among the largely voiceless women of the eighteenth century.
This commendable biography follows the life of New England patriot Mercy Otis Warren (1728–1814), the celebrated—and sometimes reviled—writer of poems, plays, history and satire.
Drawing heavily on correspondence as well as Warren’s published writings, Stuart traces her unusual education in provincial Massachusetts, loving marriage to James Warren, on-again off-again friendship with John and Abigail Adams, literary rise and controversial antifederalist views after the Revolution. Warren emerges as a fully fleshed-out woman with literary insecurities, intractable opinions and a high-strung temper as well as deep affection for her husband and sons.
Stuart includes fascinating period details, focusing primarily on Warren’s home-front experiences of rampant inflation, scarcity of goods, high taxes and profiteering during the Revolution as well as typical 18th-century illnesses and family anxieties. Most poignantly, Stuart depicts Warren’s loneliness and despair after the deaths of three of her five sons. This account is valuable as an eyewitness play-by-play of the American Revolution
Publisher: Beacon Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
Paperback: 329 pages