Delicious Sponge Cake

Dinah Birch

‘No one knows what a literary ambition I had, nor how my failure has broken me,’ Elizabeth Stoddard wrote in 1876. She was 53, and knew she was not going to be numbered among the great American writers of her generation. The gloomy and self-dramatising tone is characteristic. In fact she was exceptionally robust, and nothing could break her. She went on writing for years, and lived to see a flurry of interest in her work before she died in 1902. But she never earned the public recognition she wanted.

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