Maria Susana Cummins: The Lamplighter

(662 words)
  • Rebecca Saulsbury (Florida Southern College)

When Maria S. Cummins's first novel, The Lamplighter, appeared on the Boston literary scene on March 1, 1854, it was an immediate best-seller and cultural phenomenon. Second in sales only to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, published two years earlier, it reportedly sold 20,000 copies in twenty days and 65,000 copies in five months. The Lamplighter's success was not limited to America's shores: it sold over 100,000 copies in Britain alone. At least thirteen British firms published the novel, often in multiple editions. It was translated into several different languages, including French, German, and Dutch, and it continued to sell well into the twentieth century.

The Lamplighter's …

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Saulsbury, Rebecca. "The Lamplighter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]