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Charlotte Temple a best seller that went through than 200 editions was the most popular American novel until Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin 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 Once in America Charlotte is abandoned by Montraville who marries another woman and leaves to fight in the Revolutionary War Desperate evicted from her home and pregnant with Montraville's child Charlotte goes out in a terrible storm to find the French teacher who originally encouraged her alliance with the officer Spurned by the corrupt teacher she is taken in by her servant Charlotte's father the son of an English nobleman whose family name far exceeds his fortune arrives in time to bury his unfortunate daughter and to claim her illegitimate childThough no historical evidence exists to confirm the facts of this story Susanna Rowson insisted throughout her life that it was true and it was as a tale of truth that it was read and loved In the nineteenth century someone even erected a tombstone bearing Charlotte's name in New York's Trinity Churchyard where thousands of readers left flowers locks of hair and the ashes of love letters on the real grave of America's most famous fictional characterIn her introduction to Charlotte Temple Cathy N Davidson discusses the enormous popularity of the book and the life of Susanna Rowson which was even sensational than the lives of the characters in her book


10 thoughts on “Charlotte Temple

  1. says:

    this book is baaaaaad it is melodramatic and sentimental and full of woe is me and what shall i do and beseeching and fainting and fits and inexplicable deaths i want montambo to read it because of all the people herein who are faced with unpleasantness fall into a fit and die i want a doctor to tell me what that is all about and i also want to know how playing the harp with a man for a half hour can knock you up because i don't want a baby but i do love the harpcome to my blog


  2. says:

    I liked this book for several reasons One it was the first novel to become an American best seller Two written by a woman who was also a writer of plays music textbooks She was an actress and an educator At one point she was the main breadwinner in her family which her husband approved of We're talking in mid 1700's here The story of Charlotte begins in England She's fifteen years old the only child of two doting parents A cute British soldier comes along and convinces her to elope with him to America Steamy stuff Then she comes to America gets pregnant gets dumped by the British soldier and dies Why did all early heroine's die in desolation??? That's a whole other topic What is interesting about Charlotte from a writer's point of view is the way she structured the novel It's written in third person but along the way the narratorauthor interjects thoughts about the story statements aimed directly at the reader There are a few theories out there as to why Rowson did this One which is also very interesting is that by doing so she was able to preach to her audience which women couldn't do in Puritan society In a way she broke society's rules in a very sneaky way which is another reason why I like this book


  3. says:

    I'm rating this book based on historical context and for entertainment value It's a really hilarious melodramatic book with an absurd and sensational story about a young woman who falls into vice basically in the words of Coach from Mean Girls Don't have sex You will get pregnant And die But it provides a really interesting look at the gender roles of the time period the expectations of women and men and the concerns of the public about morality and sexuality So as a historical document it's pretty valuable And it's really fun to readThe author led a really interesting life and likes to interject advice about not marrying bum ish men since her own husband was kind of a bum The author also breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader in some pretty amusing and sarcastic ways I read this for school but I had a good time reading it and if you're looking for historical documents or literature from this time period this is a good one to start with


  4. says:

    I scanned some of the other reviews apparently one is a hater when one has different taste in literature? I can appreciate that this novel has historic relevance but as to the uestion Did you like this book? my answer is No I read it because of its place in history but I did not enjoy the flowery fussy manipulative style of writing the predictable plot the heavier than heavy handed moralisms or the assumptions the author makes about her audience This is the 18th century version of a soap opera It was popular it is old but that doesn't make it good And my not liking it does not make me a hater


  5. says:

    All the morality of Jane Austen without any of the fun Fantine without all the wonderful singing Vanity Fair litetriple ugh Dear Reader I've decided I loathe being talked to directly by the narrator


  6. says:

    Charlotte Temple is the first bestseller published in the United States and thus an important read for anyone interested in American literature andor print culture This novel is very short a novella technically and has a very melodramatic over the top plot It's basically an early conduct novel showing young girls and women what conseuences come from having sex outside marriage poverty ostracism and deathCharlotte is a young British girl who falls in love with a British officer and follows him to America Basically she becomes pregnant with his child they don't marry and she dies The narrator voices her opinion constantly although this is written in the third person and this intrusion is actually entertainingWhile this novel is certainly offensive by today's standards I give it four stars for its historical importance and its ability to entertain It serves as a vehicle for understanding 18th century morals and gender codes as well as a document in the evolution of American print culture This book is actually the first step in the development of American literature in relation to marketing storytelling and form Not exactly my favorite novel Charlotte Temple is worth reading in the way Richardson's Pamela is worth reading It's a valuable record of the history of the American novel


  7. says:

    For a book written in 1790 it is surprizingly modern in its way Same old story girl meets guy guy promises undying love and all that nonsense she falls for it he got what he wanted she is no longer needed is now pregnant gets discarded Nowadays of course there are social programs and funds to help out back then you had to crawl into a hole and die if you got yourself pregnant without a wedding bandI also liked Charlotte's spunk Most books that I have read on this theme our heroine takes all the blame asks for nothing but punishment and does not believe she even deserves mercy from above Charlotte was a bit different as she did yell at him a few times about how he was dumping her in a strange land pregnant and without money and what was she supposed to do nowI really liked it


  8. says:

    After the first American novel I went straight to the first American best seller This is an ordinary sentimental novel of the era in which the author narrates in excessively dramatic tones a story of seduction intended as she claims to warn girls and their parents about this threat It is a book that had everything needed at that time to have a great impact especially on the female readership Of course in today's reader this sentimentality and the moral suggestions may seem ridiculous but anyone who has the patience to see this book with the eyes of a reader of that time will find that without being great is something beautifully written full with intense emotional moments that will touch the sensitive strings of anyone that can let himself free enough As for the didactic part the author makes an emotional appeal than a strict sermon which makes it less annoyingΜετά το πρώτο αμερικανικό μυθιστόρημα προχώρησα αμέσως στο πρώτο αμερικανικό best seller Πρόκειται για ένα συνηθισμένο συναισθηματικό μυθιστόρημα της εποχής στο οποίο η συγγραφέας αφηγείται σε υπερβολικά δραματικούς τόνους μία ιστορία αποπλάνησης με σκοπό όπως ισχυρίζεται να προειδοποιήσει τα κορίτσια και τους γονείς τους για αυτήν την απειλή Είναι δηλαδή ένα βιβλίο που είχε όλα αυτά που χρειάζονταν εκείνη την εποχή για να έχει μεγάλη απήχηση ειδικά στο γυναικείο αναγνωστικό κοινό Φυσικά στον σημερινό αναγνώστη αυτός ο συναισθηματισμός και οι ηθικολογικές υποδείξεις μπορεί να φαίνονται γελοία αλλά όποιος έχει την υπομονή για να δει αυτό το βιβλίο με τα μάτια ενός αναγνώστη εκείνης της εποχής θα διαπιστώσει ότι χωρίς να είναι κάτι σπουδαίο είναι κάτι όμορφα γραμμένο γεμάτο με έντονες συναισθηματικές στιγμές που θα αγγίξουν τις ευαίσθητες χορδές οποίου καταφέρει να αφεθεί αρκετά Όσο για το διδακτικό κομμάτι η συγγραφέας περισσότερο κάνει μία συναισθηματική έκκληση παρά κάποιο αυστηρό κήρυγμα κάτι που το κάνει λιγότερο ενοχλητικό


  9. says:

    I know it was a bestseller at the turn of the XVIII and XIX But to me today it sounded too moralizing and I couldn't force myself to listen to than circa one third of the book I was listening from LibriVox Perhaps some other time


  10. says:

    My mission to read women above and beyond the call of duty has increasingly drawn me further afield over the years and these days I find myself wandering realms and centuries far outside of the areas of my usual perusal in search of the famous the infamous and the than not horrendously underread I don't expect to love or even like everything especially when considering how warped popular representation of women's writing must be by patriarchal ivory towers even today so the fact that I seemingly go along with the popular evaluation of this work in particular only makes me determined to unbury less previously rabidly popular works It's easy to scoff at Rowson's moralizing but her entreatment of the reader hails straight from the pages of Shandy and co and the fact that she made nothing off her work and had to negotiate very literary publication through her blunderbuss of a husband goes to show how easily works by women are sunken and drowned if we let such occur I can't see this book surviving beyond the status of a historical reliuary but it does deserve to be remembered as it tells as much about the state of white Anglo literature in that land and in that time as it does about how white man liked his white women to write and how little he was willing to pay for itThis is an extraordinarily short book and between the moralizing and the fact that it takes the author a fifth of the work to get to the titular character audiences have plenty of ammunition for justifying the abysmally low rating Unlike The Couette a comparably early US women written work the characters' speeches are all too sensationalist to merit much analysis of true human passion As a result what similarities lie between the rape culture of the tail end of the 18th century and the one of today are borderline too occluded with dramatics to pore over beyond the structure of narrative The author's career as actor likely had a hand in the choice in prose and while it proved popular for a rather long time it does not survive today in accordance to the whims of the market beyond the times it is assigned as reuired reading in various university classes Still it's worth noting as a canonical text for Temple's story still occurs today at all levels of society and the country of mine still hates those with wombs enough to force them to abide by rape and incest simply to bring forth another often maligned and swiftly forgotten foster child into the world A melodramatic work to be sure but the subject has only changed in terms of what the 21st century has provided it in terms of laws and technology a situation which if you have any compassion whatsover should make you bloody sickAll in all not my least favorite book read so far this year but I'm sure it'd have a good chance of being so if it had been any longer It's a relic of the past but the fact that humanity still enables such situations as Temple's on a huge scale means those in power and those who vote said those into power still forsake compassion for rapacious gains Until this story's tale ceases its occurrences at in any sort of freuency a human's right to their body is continually violated to the tune of myriad misogynistic moral panics and so perhaps it's a shame this book has fallen so far out of favor The style and syntax don't fit today's tastes but the moralizing is still needed and if that doesn't work we shall have to simply wait and see what the inevitable breaking point brings us It should never be normal that at 15 year old dies soon after giving birth More than 200 years have passed and either you're on the side of those with bodies or you'd rather those with wombs have less autonomy than that of a corpse which didn't get a pink dot on its driver's license while it was still kicking