Shame the Devil
Shame the Devil is a novel based on the life and works of nineteenth-century American novelist, journalist and feminist, Fanny Fern. The book covers Fanny Fern’s life (1811-1872), but concentrates on the 1850s and 1860s when her literary career became established and her personal life was a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Fanny Fern was the most popular, highest paid, most published writer of her era. She outsold Harriet Beecher Stowe, won the respect of Nathaniel Hawthorne and served as literary mentor to Walt Whitman. She scrabbled in the depths of poverty before her meteoric rise to fame and fortune. She was widowed, escaped an abusive second marriage, penned one of the country’s first pre-nuptial agreements, married a third man eleven years her junior, and served as a 19th-century “Oprah” to her hundreds of thousands of fans. Fanny Fern’s weekly editorials in the pages of The New York Ledger over a period of about twenty years help to chronicle the myriad of controversial issues of her era while her novels, and the critical response to them, both in her day and through subsequent eras, make clear how America’s literary tradition began to and continues to define itself. This novel strives for historical accuracy, not only regarding Fanny Fern and the events of her life, but in regard to other historical figures of her time including Walt Whitman, Catharine Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, N.P. Willis and James Parton.