What is literary recovery?

Literary recovery brings to light and analyzes works that do not fit into the androcentric, white-washed canon. This discipline amplifies the voices of individuals from different races, genders, social backgrounds, abilities, and sexualities. Literary recovery allows scholars to fill in gaps in literary history and to piece together cultural puzzles by uncovering themes, beliefs, and conflicts from the nineteenth-century. Literary recovery is able to uncover a more complete and complex literary heritage, one where every person who has ever put pen to paper at all is essential. 

Since its recent inception, literary recovery has boldly ventured into the past to help create a more comprehensive present. Through critique, analysis, and re-publication, literary recovery not only presents new work to the world but engages with it, promoting critical conversations about groups that were previously excluded such as women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities. By analyzing these works through both a nineteenth and twenty-first century lens, we can assert their literary and historical importance. This process of rediscovery helps to shape a more inclusive definition of the nineteenth-century American literary canon and to reveal the diverse experiences of women throughout history. It is our obligation as literary scholars to honor the legacies of writers who have, for too long, been forgotten, dismissed, and trivialized.