The Coquette

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Oxford University Press, USA, Feb 19, 1987 - Fiction - 192 pages
5 Reviews
The Coquette tells the much-publicized story of the seduction and death of Elizabeth Whitman, a poet from Hartford, Connecticut.Written as a series of letters--between the heroine and her friends and lovers--it describes her long, tortuous courtship by two men, neither of whom perfectly suits her. Eliza Wharton (as Whitman is called in the novel) wavers between Major Sanford, a charming but insincere man, and the Reverend Boyer, a bore who wants to marry her. When, in her mid-30s, Wharton finds herself suddenly abandoned when both men marry other women, she willfully enters into an adulterous relationship with Sanford and becomes pregnant. Alone and dejected, she dies in childbirth at a roadside inn. Eliza Wharton, whose real-life counterpart was distantly related to Hannah Foster's husband, was one of the first women in American fiction to emerge as a real person facing a dilemma in her life. In her Introduction, Davidson discusses the parallels between Elizabeth Whitman and the fictional Eliza Wharton. She shows the limitations placed on women in the 18th century and the attempts of one woman to rebel against those limitations.

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User Review  - SheriAWilkinson - LibraryThing

The Coquette: or, The History of Eliza Wharton by Hannah Webster Foster Set in 1797, based on the true story of Eliza Wharton.She finds herself falling for two suitors, Reverend Boyer and Major ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BrynDahlquis - LibraryThing

This is a frustrating novel, perhaps because I read it for my American Lit class and thus was forced to discuss certain aspects of the book. I found Maj. Sanford very interesting, though certainly ... Read full review

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About the author (1987)

Cathy N. Davidson, Professor of English at Michigan State University, is author most recently of Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America.

Cathy N. Davidson, Professor of English at Michigan State University, is author most recently of Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America.

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