The sentimental novels of the early national period were considered a danger to society and were criticized for the corrupting influence they had on the minds of their mostly young and female audience. They told tales of vice and intrigue that purported to be "based on fact" and also advocated the need for better female education that would prepare young women against sweet-talking seducers. Extremely popular in America after the Revolution and throughout the nineteenth century, Charlotte Temple and The Coquette were two of the most successful novels of the period. Reprinted here in their entirety, with Introductions by the literary scholar Cathy N. Davidson, they offer the modern student a glimpse at the earliest American popular fiction.
Charlotte Temple, the most popular novel in America until Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, went through over 200 editions. It tells of a beautiful English girl who at the age of 15 is courted by and runs away with a British lieutenant named Montraville.
Susanna Rowson, the daughter of a British naval officer, was one of the most accomplished women of the early national period. Actress, song-writer, novelist, poet, dramatist, and essayist, she was also the founder of one of the most progressive academies for young women of her day. She remained best-known, however, for Charlotte Temple, a novel that promised to be "of service to the]...young and unprotected woman in her first entrance into life."
In her Introduction, Cathy Davidson discusses the enormous popularity of the book and the life of Susanna Rowson, which was even more sensational than those of the characters depicted in the novel.
"Great introduction, nicely produced version of an American classic. Should stay in print continuously as a basic text."--Timothy Morris, University of Texas, Arlington
"The most up-to-date introduction available of an early American novel."--Richard S. Pressman, St. Mary's University, San Antonio
"Davidson has given a fine introduction to this important work and one which--at last--respects the text and makes this view available to students."--Sarah E. Newton, California State University
"A very important book for the ongoing re-evolution of American literature. I'm very pleased that you've made it available for classroom use."--Thomas F. Berninghausen, Clark University
"Clear text - excellent, if a bit dogmatic, critical essay by Davidson."--Robert Donahou, Sam Houston State University
"A marvelous text with all the additional information necessary without adding 'clutter' to the book. . . . a beautiful book in every sense at a reasonable price for students."--Dr. Marion Perry, Erie Community College-South
Series: Early American Women Writers
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 19th February 1987
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.5
Weight (kg): 0.14