2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Thoughts and Reflections on Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette
Shawn E. Peters
Prof. Claire Peckosh, Faculty Mentor

Hannah Webster Foster's, The Coquette, or the History of Eliza Wharton, like much post-Revolutionary American literature, served many purposes and functions in the new Republic. According to Cathy Davidson, the early American novel assisted in constituting a definition of America, [and] the literature is not simply words upon a page but a complex social, political and material process of cultural production. By analyzing the The Coquette with the aid of Sharon Harris, editor of American Women Writers to 1800 and Cathy Davidson, author of Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America, I will argue that the main function of The Coquette was one of an instructional novel: an alternative form of education, most likely specifically directed towards woman, to comment on and shape appropriate social behavior.

Keywords: early American literature/ novel, post-Revolutionary America, The Coquette, Hannah Webster Foster, early American women authors, instructional novel

Topic(s):American Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 16-3
Location: MG 2090
Time: 8:30

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