College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance

John Evelev

"Picturesque Reform in the New England Village Novel, 1845-1867"

The use of picturesque landscape description, this essay argues, is central to the way the nineteenth-century New England village novel envisions the social action and change of reform. Studying three exemplary models—Sylvester Judd's Margaret (1845), Oliver Wendell Holmes's Elsie Venner (1861), and Henry Ward Beecher's Norwood (1867)—the essay charts the transformations of "picturesque reform" over the midcentury period, showing its reflection of broader shifts in middle-class U.S. attitudes toward reform from utopian perfectionism to professionalized investment in bureaucratic institutions of charity.

Department of English, PO Box 645020, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5020, 509-335-2581. Contact ESQ