Now You See Me, Now You Don't: Fanny Fern's Private Theatricals in Ruth Hall: A Domestic Tale of the Present Time (1854)


  • Dietrich Harer University of Mannheim



The essay discusses Fanny Fern's autobiographical narrative Ruth Hall “(1854) in the context of the emerging entertainment industry in antebellum America. A brief analysis of Fern's narrative strategies, focusing on aspects of the characters' visual exposure, reveals that Fern's selfportrait as the "authentic" and independent Ruth Hall“ is in complex ways implicated in the very mechanisms she purports to confront. 

Author Biography

Dietrich Harer, University of Mannheim

CV since 2000 Employed as advertising copy writer  since 1997 Seminars on contemporary southern novelists and antebellum American literature at the University of Mannheim since 1996 Doctoral dissertation with the working title "Von Tätern und Opfern: Untersuchungen zu Sentimentalismus und Erkenntnisskepsis in ausgewählten Romanen der  American Renaissance" 1996 Received his M.A. in English and German at the University of Mannheim 1995 Completed his M.A. thesis on Melville's The Confidence-Man“1992/93 Teaching assistant and graduate student at the University of Florida at Gainesville, FL For the annual conferences of the PGF he has delivered presentations on Stowe's Uncle “Tom's Cabin“, Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall“ and Melville's Pierre“


How to Cite

Harer, Dietrich. “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Fanny Fern’s Private Theatricals in Ruth Hall: A Domestic Tale of the Present Time (1854)”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 1, Dec. 2011, doi:10.5283/copas.58.