The Storm
An Antebellum Tale of Key West

Ellen Brown Anderson, Edited by Keith L. Huneycutt

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Available for pre-order. This book will be available September, 2024

A newly discovered manuscript believed to be the first known novella written by a woman in Florida  
“An invaluable addition to nineteenth-century women’s literature that gives a rare glimpse into Florida, particularly Key West, during a time when it was still considered a frontier landscape to many Americans.”—Ashley Lear, author of The Remarkable Kinship of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ellen Glasgow  
“A significant contribution to the literary landscape of Florida writers before 1865, as well as to the growing number of American women writers from Florida and the South writing during the antebellum period but from outside the confines of a plantation.”—Jordan Von Cannon, Florida Gulf Coast University  
In 2015, an unsigned and undated 98-page manuscript was donated to the University of Florida. This work, titled The Storm, is published here for the first time, transcribed and annotated by Keith Huneycutt. Huneycutt presents evidence attributing its authorship to Ellen Brown Anderson, a writer who came to Florida and lived with family members before the Civil War. This book makes widely available what may be the first novella written by a woman in the state.
Likely written between 1854 and 1862, The Storm is set in Key West during the hurricane year of 1846. It is narrated by a young bride who tells the story of her first marriage, her struggle to make sense of a loveless and hopeless domestic situation, and the restrictions placed on women in her society. The story also presents a woman’s viewpoint on mid-nineteenth-century Key West, including the island’s shipwreck salvage industry and the town’s get-rich-quick economy, constituting one of the first fictional treatments of the Keys’ wrecking business.
Huneycutt’s introduction compares the text with other examples of women’s literature and works by Florida authors from the period. The appendixes include essays on the writings of Anderson and her sister Corrina Brown Aldrich, who may have also played a role in the tale’s creation. Huneycutt argues that The Storm is groundbreaking in many ways and that it deserves serious consideration as part of antebellum American literature.  
Ellen Brown Anderson (1814–1862) was a writer who was born in New Hampshire and lived in Florida between 1835 and 1850. Keith L. Huneycutt, professor of English at Florida Southern College, is coeditor of The Letters of George Long Brown: A Yankee Merchant on Florida’s Antebellum Frontier and Echoes from a Distant Frontier: The Brown Sisters’ Correspondence from Antebellum Florida.

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