The Coquette (Early American Women Writers)
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The Coquette (Early American Women Writers)

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  1,012 ratings  ·  74 reviews
0195042395|9780195042399. The Coquette published in the year 1987 was published by Oxford University Press. View 84121 more books by Oxford University Press. The author of this book is Cathy N. Davidson. Hannah W. Foster. This is the Paperback version of the title "The Coquette " and have around pp. xxiii + 169 pages. The Coquette is currently Available with us.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 19th 1987 by Oxford University Press, U.S.A. (first published February 19th 1797)
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Megan Ensign
Nov 21, 2007 Megan Ensign rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone.
The Coquette is an epistolary novel based on an actual event that occurred in the "Era of Good Feelings"--that is, the period immediately after the Constitution was ratified. It tells the story, through letters, of a woman's fall from grace.
To contemporary readers, the story might seem a little bland. Really, I consider it very similar to the side plot in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, but if one is able to contextualize the novel, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting.
I read a critic...more
Faith Bradham
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie
Three stars because it was an interesting text to talk about in class, not because it was a particularly enjoyable read.

"The Coquette" constituted week two of our 'seduction narrative' segment of this seminar, and made more sense to me than "Charlotte Temple" beneath this umbrella term. Eliza Wharton truly is seduced in a way that Charlotte Temple is not (I would call "CT" an abduction narrative, but for some reason, my class didn't want to talk consent); because of this, though, I found Eliza t...more
Rachel
The use of letter writing, as opposed to an omniscient narrator, offers up a unique way of giving each character within the novel, The Coquette by Hannah Webster Foster, a distinct voice and personality. It is easy to discover who is the prude, the coquette, the rake and the righteous. Each letter grants readers insight into the varying personalities represented through individual writing styles. It is from these writing styles that we are given vision into the characters personal lives, showing...more
Tom
A sentimental eighteenth century American novel with surprising insights on politics, sexuality, and the social order.

Full disclosure: I had to read this for school, but I feel edified for having read it. It's quick and entertaining if this is the kind of book you enjoy.
Xandinavian
Worst thing I ever read.
Kathleen
This is a very interesting book, and Eliza is a very frustrating character. She is always asking for advice, but never heeds it. She is in her 30s but seems much younger due to her carefree attitude.

I read the preface after I finished, and was very surprised to learn who the character of Major Sanford represented. The seducer was identified as none other than Pierpont Edwards, son of the famous Rev. Jonathan Edwards! The book became much more interesting when I found that out.


Some quotes I highl...more
Meagan
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Jean Marie
In a nutshell, not the worst school related read I've been subjected to but it was definitely one of those reads that caused me to struggle throughout it. It being written in letter format certainly helped with the changes in narration, but I think was the cause of my overwhelming disappointment (I mean, honestly, I should have really enjoyed this all things considered) was what always hurts a good book to me: consistent detailing from beginning to climax followed by a noticable quickening come...more
Paul Beimers
Feb 10, 2014 Paul Beimers rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who: are interested in the history.
An overly moralistic little cautionary tale of the antiquated codes that women were once subjected to (and still are, admittedly) told in the ever odd epistolary format. Its messages are outdated, its characters are simplistic, and it concludes in the predictably morose fashion that one can expect from this sort of fable.

Still, it's an easy read, and a bit of historical writing to be remembered for its contextual relevance.

Cassandra
One of those books I sort-of read in college but didn't read very well because of course there were half a dozen other books competing for my attention and blah blah. Still can't remember if I properly finished it or whatever.

Anyway, it's interesting to sit down and just read it as a novel. I know how it ends and whatnot (I mean, it's pretty obvious--and also it was discussed to death in whatever class I read it for) so I'm enjoying teasing out the little things that color characters' world.

Tha...more
Elysa
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Mandy
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Jenifer
This story of a woman's fall from grace, told through letters, was one of the few books that I was forced to read for American Literature that I enjoyed.

Although it seems different from any other book I've ever read currently, I found the storyline to be more interesting and engaging. How she continues to ignore advice from friends and family, how she puts herself in dangerous situation (dangerous to her reputation anyway), and how she does everythign she is not meant to do and the consequences...more
Joy Davis
The Coquette is a fictionalization of the real life story of Elizabeth Whitman, a woman who became famous through newspaper articles informing the world of her death after giving birth alone to a child who was not the product of marriage. As such, The Coquette acts as an moral instructional tale, basically saying "Don't have premarital sex because you will get pregnant and die." By straying from the path of societal normative behavior (marriage), Eliza brings her downfall upon herself.
Emily
Thanks to Christina for telling me about this great little book written in 1797. It was one of the best-selling novels of the 18th century, and I'd never even heard of it! This is a cautionary tale that would have been more enjoyable for me if I hadn't read the back cover first (plot revealed!). The story is told through letters. What letters! Did people really write like that? The main character is sympathetic even though you know she's headed for trouble. The rake is deliciously selfish. The w...more
Brianna
Mar 07, 2012 Brianna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Women who like to read 19th century stories
This was a pretty cool story. It is all in correspondence. It's like a bunch of letters.
Do it! Read the book, because who knows what new world one might fall into? What interesting characters with interesting lives you might meet and fall in love with? You won't know if you like it unless you give it a try. You won't know if you love them unless you crack open the cover and say "Chapter One...." What's the worst that could happen? The universe could implode.... but that's very unlikely.
Honestly...more
Michael Wolf
Learned about the subtleties of the epistolary genre from this work and how the typical upper class female of the middle to late 18th century of the United States was not so typical nor as readily understood as society projected, that there was a vast underworld of conspiracy and adultery amidst the guise of coyness; hence, the title The Coquette, a character that embodied this archetype. I have to admit that it kind of unjustly pushed me away from female writer, effects in which I am still reel...more
Amy
I just moved this book up to 4 stars because it has been months since I read this work and I still think about it all the time. Although written in the didactic style of the time period, there is a lot of substance to the story. The rake is absolutely diabolical and in this world where rakes are often looked up to and the hurting of women discounted, I think this should be read. The author really captured the emotional bankruptcy that often happens before we make poor choices.

Enjoy.
Erica
I would love all teenage girls to read this book if they could get by with the 18th century language, which I definately could, it was a page turner. The book is written all in letters concerning Eliza Wharten and two suitors that are complete opposites of each other and not exactly suitable for Eliza. It ends in tragedy, but teaches about looking at true character, moving forward and receiving mercy (which Eliza has dificulty doing, which causes her ruin).
Kienie
To be fair, I read this book for a class about four years ago, and forgot all about it, except for a lingering sense of exasperation. I did not know that it was based on a real story. If I had, I'd be a bit less annoyed with the main characters, and instead be a lot more annoyed with society. Maybe I shouldn't say anything. I barely remember the plot, and I've forgotten the character names. But the idea of having to reread this is completely unappealing.
Mia
Written in the epistolary style, the book is a deceptively simple moral tale. It certainly requires more than one reading. BUT one must be careful not to apply today's standards to the behaviors of 210 years ago. I sat in on an argument in which a reader asked just what it was that the main character did wrong. By today's standards, absolutely nothing, but by the cultural conventions of 1797, a great deal indeed! A must for gender studies.
Hannah
Jan 28, 2009 Hannah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: English lit loving nerdy-types
Recommended to Hannah by: read it for class
This was pretty good - a quick read and a much better experience than my recent run-ins with epistolary novels. The failures of Eliza Wharton reminded me slightly of Lily Bart from House of Mirth, who is one of my favorite fictional characters. I'd definitely recommend The Coquette for English lit nerds and fans of women writers/stories about the woes of women past (those types seem to go together quite a bit).
Caroline
I read this book for a class I'm taking on America post-revolution/early Republic. It was interesting especially since it is 1) an epistolary novel and 2) written by a woman, which in the early history of America is a bit of a novelty. It was a bit dry at times but kind of interesting. Much more interesting than a text book, in any event. If you're interested in early female American novelists... then this is the book for you!
Katherine
The way that Foster chose to layout the story and incorporate letters makes it very personal and exciting because we are reading, what essentially, what we should not be reading with regards to privacy. Once again I love women being the center of a story and so I enjoyed this even more. This story shows what boundary differences there were between men and women of the 1800s. Short but filled with so much information.
Bekah
I read this for my American Novel class and would not necessarily recommend it unless you wanted a book from late 1700's that was one of the first American novels. It was actually pretty funny to read, I just would not ever reread it. It is a "fallen woman" novel, which was apparently typical at this time period. I liked how it was written in letter format resulting in reading about every characters true intentions.
Delafieldlib
FIC FOSTER - Mandy says, "Written by a woman in the late-1700s, this epistolary novel - inspired by a true story - relates the tale of the "downfall" of a respectable woman. A morality tale, or a critique of women's position in colonial American society, or a little bit of both? You decide. Fans of Dangerous Liaisons/Les liaisons dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos would probably enjoy this book.
Tina Dyer
The message here, as in Richardson's "Clarissa," is that she who is not prepared to settle for mediocrity in matters of love will end up dead in a ditch. Lovelace, however, is a much more engaging (and intelligent) rake than Col. Sanford, who has only "his costume and his equipages" to show for a lifetime and must--horrors!--mortgage the house that he buys himself near Eliza's home.
Melissa
Okay, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I really disliked this book. Maybe one star is a bit harsh, but when I read the ending, I was like, "What? La-ame." It was just sooooo melodramatic and the "moral" of the story really rubbed me the wrong way. I actually might recommend it, just because it lends itself to an interesting discussion. Anyhow, not my fave.
Kara
I read this book for an American Literature class, and I loved it. I was only assigned two sections of the book, but I read all of it because I didn't want to miss any of the details, as is easy to do in this format. If you liked Jane Austen's Persuasion or A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, you would like this one as well.
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The Coquette and the Boarding School The Coquette The History of Eliza Wharton The Coquette, or, The History of Eliza Wharton A Novel: Founded on Fact The Boarding School: Or, Lessons of a Preceptress to Her Pupils; Consisting of Information, Instruction, and Advice, Calculated to Improve The Power of Sympathy and The Coquette

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