The Coquette and the Boarding School (Broadview Editions)
Hannah Webster Foster based The Coquette on the true story of Elizabeth Whitman, an unmarried woman who died in childbirth in New England. Fictionalizing Whitman’s experiences in her heroine, Eliza Wharton, Foster created a compelling narrative of seduction that was hugely successful with readers. The Boarding School, a less widely known work by Foster, is an experimental text, part epistolary novel and part conduct book. Together, the novels explore the realities of women’s lives in early America.
The critical introduction and appendices to this edition, which explore female friendship and the education of women in the novels, frame Foster as more than a purveyor of the sentimental novel, and re-evaluate her placement in American literary history.
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