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My Owl (Group 2) : My Owl: A Passage from an artist's life abroad

Abigail May Alcott Nieriker

My Owl (Group 2)

<p style='text-align: justify;'> My Owl is an autobiographical short story written by Abigail May Nieriker that recounts a series of events in the author's travels between London and Paris during the 1870s - a transitional decade for women's culture. It tells a gratifying experience of a young and ambitious artist who succeeds in getting their work displayed in the Paris Salon, which develops their persona and artistic intuition. The story parallels Nieriker's life as both she and the protagonist submitted work to the Parisian Salon and tried to prosper in a new country, conforming to the cultural standards whilst challenging the social boundaries for independent female artists in Europe. The subject of her painting is a taxidermized owl - at first a cheaply-bought item of bric-a-brac that later becomes a sapient voice of guidance and constructive criticism in the novella, influencing the speaker's creative journey. The ubiquitous approval that the painting receives is a highly progressive concept in itself as, according to contemporary critics such as Cheryl Torsney, May and her art were a matrix of cultural circumstances. </p>

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