THE unwonted favour extended to “Read’s Female Poets of America,” led to the belief that a work on the Female Prose Writers, constructed on a similar plan, would be not unacceptable to the public.
In the preparation of the biographies, much difficulty has been experienced. Few things are more intangible and elusive, than the biography of persons still living, and yet, in the case of those who have pleased us by their writings, few things are more interesting. It seems to be an instinctive desire of the human heart, on becoming acquainted with any work of genius, to know something of its author. Nor is this mere idle curiosity. It is a part of that homage, which every mind rightly constituted, spontaneously offers to whatever is great or good. This feeling of personal interest in an author who has moved us, is greatly increased where, as in the case of most female writers, the subjects of which they write, are chiefly of an emotional nature, carrying with them on every page the unmistakeable impress of personal sympathy, if not experience. Women, far more than men, write from the heart. Their own likes and dislikes, their feelings, opinions, tastes, and sympathies are so mixed up with those of their subject, that the interest of the