Dupuy, Eliza Ann
DUPUY, Eliza Ann
Born ca. 1814, Petersburg, Virginia; died December 1880, NewOrleans, Louisiana
Wrote under: Annie Young
Daughter of Jesse and Mary Sturdivant Dupuy
Eliza Ann Dupuy's fiction, designed to appeal to popular tastes, has few literary pretensions. Combining elements from the domestic novel, the melodramatic romance, and the Richardsonian novel of sentiment, her works abound with coincidences and stock characters and situations. Some favorite subjects, such as the young heiress forced to marry against her will, appear regularly over a 30-year span from The Conspirator (1843) to The Gypsy's Warning (1873). Dupuy's narrative ingredients remain constant whether the novel is based on the traditions of her own family (The Huguenot Exiles, 1856), Corsican vendettas (All for Love; The Outlaw's Bride, 1873), or the life of Marshal Ney (Michael Rudolph, 1870). Their frequent twists of plot, through 500 pages of dark adventures, teetering suspense, long-hatched vengeances, consumptive heroines, providential heroes, and descents into lurid crime and sordid mystery, recall the exigencies of their original serial publication. Her products are carefully adjusted to the desires and expectations of her readers.
The Planter's Daughter (1857) is described by a contemporary critic as "in an eminent degree sensational." With all their alluring depictions of vice, however, Dupuy's works conform to and enforce accepted mores. Although entire novels, such as The Country Neighborhood (1855), are said to be based on "actual life" in Mississippi or Louisiana (where Dupuy herself had lived and where she wrote many of her works), stock elements such as persecuted or seduced females, glittering rakes, and avaricious parents, supernatural devices, and the heavy use of coincidence strain the reader's belief in her realism. In general, however, Dupuy's Southern characters are presented with less of the heavy-handed satire that attends her descriptions of the "high society" of the nouveaux riche in New York City or in Newport.
Many of Dupuy's works remain satisfying as sensational light fiction, though modern readers will probably object to the extreme credulity of her heroines and the regularity with which young men and women in her novels allow filial duty to persuade them into acts against all reason or probability.
Morton: A Tale of the Revolution (circa 1828). Celeste: The Pirate's Daughter (1845). The Separation; The Divorce; And the Coquette's Punishment (1851). Adventures of a Gentleman in Search of Miss Smith (1852). Florence; or, The Fatal Vow (1852). Emma Walton; or, Trials and Triumph (1854). Annie Selden; or, The Concealed Treasure (1854). Ashleigh: A Tale of the Olden Time (1854). The Mysterious Marriage: A True Romance of New York Life (1858). The Hidden Sin (1866). Why Did He Marry Her (1870). How He Did It; Was He Guilty (1871). The Canceled Will (1872). Who Shall Be Victor? (1872). The Dethroned Heiress (1873). The Mysterious Guest (1873). The Clandestine Marriage (1875). The Discarded Wife; or, Will She Succeed (1875). A New Way to Win a Fortune (1875). The Shadow in the House; A Husband for a Lover (1881).
Davidson, J. W., The Living Writers of the South (1869). Forrest, M., Women of the South Distinguished in Literature (1861). McVoy, L. C., and R. B. Campbell, A Bibliography of Fiction by Louisianians and on Louisiana Subjects (1935). Raymond, I., Southland Writers (1870). Tardy, M. T., ed., The Living Female Writers of the South (1872).
—SUSAN SUTTON SMITH