Coming in February 2016 from W. W. Norton:

Cover smaller

This first full-length biography of Constance Fenimore Woolson reaffirms her literary stature and evokes her dramatic life.

Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-94), who contributed to Henry James’s conception of his heroine Isabelle Archer of The Portrait of a Lady, was one of the most accomplished American writers of the nineteenth century. The best known (and most misunderstood) facts of her life are her relationship with James and her suicide in Venice. Uncovering new sources, Anne Boyd Rioux provides a fuller picture of Woolson’s life, her fight against depression, her sources for her writing, and her capacity for love and joy. In her critically acclaimed fiction, Woolson created compelling and subtle portrayals of Americans from the Great Lakes, Reconstruction-era South, and formerly Spanish Florida. While an expat in Europe, she explored women’s thwarted ambitions while challenging the foremost male writers of her era. Ultimately, Rioux reveals an exceptionally gifted and committed artist who pursued (and received) serious recognition despite the stigma attached to female authors and ambitious, single women. More

Pre-order at Norton website, Amazon, B&N, Indiebound


To celebrate her forthcoming biography of Constance Fenimore Woolson, Anne Boyd Rioux has selected the best of this classic writer’s stories.

Woolson’s stories travel from the rural Midwest to the deep South and then across the Atlantic to Italy and England. Her strong characters and indelible settings provide continuity throughout this collection as do her concerns with passion, creativity, imagination, and the demands of society. Whether portraying the keeper of a Union soldiers’ cemetery in the defeated South, a woman writer whose genius goes unrecognized, or the ex-pat denizens of Florence, Woolson’s deft characterization and subtlety create a broad landscape of Americans and their ways no matter where they lived. More

Pre-order at Norton Website, Amazon, B&N, Indiebound

Anne Boyd Rioux is a professor of English and the author and editor of four books. Read more.

Sign up for her email list to receive periodic updates as well as sneak-peaks of her forthcoming books before they are published.


Photo by Jennifer Zdon.