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Ralph Iron

Ralph Iron was the pseudonym under which Schreiner first published The Story of An African Farm. The ‘Ralph’ was an allusion to Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose writings had a profound influence on Schreiner, especially as a young woman. Iron perhaps traded on the qualities of that mineral and its strength and imperviousness. Schreiner abandoned this nom de plume in her subsequent publications, although mainly at the insistence of her publisher. She strongly felt that published writings should stand or fall in their own terms, and not be supported or denigrated because of feelings about their authors. In particular she objected to the implication that her position as a young and ‘exotic’ woman from Africa should be exploited to promote sales.
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