Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole My rating: 3 of 5 stars Published pseudonymously in 1764 by an English politician, The Castle of Otranto is usually praised as the first Gothic novel. It not only set off a craze for novels about haunted castles and abbeys, about predatory dukes and scheming monks and fainting … Continue reading Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto

J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer

Letters from an American Farmer by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur My rating: 5 of 5 stars It might sound odd to call such a ubiquitous text underrated, but I think Letters from an American Farmer is just that. While most people who have taken a course in American literature or history have probably … Continue reading J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer

Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple

Charlotte Temple by Susanna Rowson My rating: 2 of 5 stars Often called America's first bestseller, Charlotte Temple (1791) is a short didactic novel of primarily historical interest. In this, it is similar to Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette; both short novels urge their young female readers against corrupting entanglements with men and against extramarital … Continue reading Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple

Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette

The Coquette by Hannah Webster Foster My rating: 2 of 5 stars Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette is a 1797 American epistolary seduction novel and a roman à clef about the death of Elizabeth Whitman (fictionally re-christened Eliza Wharton), a woman of the Connecticut gentry who is impregnated by a married man and who then … Continue reading Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette