Charlotte Temple: A Tale of Truth

Front Cover
Rowman & Littlefield, 1964 - Fiction - 163 pages
Susanna Rowson’s work is the story of an innocent British schoolgirl who takes the advice of her depraved French teacher— with tragic consequences. Seduced by the dashing Lieutenant Montraville, who persuades her to move to America with him, the fifteen-year-old Charlotte leaves her adoring parents and makes the treacherous sea voyage to New York. In the land of opportunity, Charlotte is callously abandoned by Montraville. Alone and pregnant with an illegitimate child, she valiantly fights to stave off poverty and ruin.
 

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User Review  - wareagle78 - LibraryThing

Remorse with a side dish of guilt is the theme of Charlotte Temple, a US bestseller before the term existed. The tale is universal - a lovely, well-brought-up, moral young woman takes a tiny step ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - harayoo95 - LibraryThing

I think that it is a great book for American Literature classes and the content is quite interesting. It is useful for high school level English classes too. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

A BOARDING SCHOOL
37
DOMESTIC CONCERNS
40
UNEXPECTED MISFORTUNES
44
CHANGE OF FORTUNE
48
SUCH THINGS ARE
53
FRENCH TEACHERS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST WOMEN IN THE WORLD
57
NATURAL SENSE OF PROPRIETY INHERENT IN THE FEMALE BOSOM
61
DOMESTIC PLEASURES PLANNED
65
A MISTAKE DISCOVERED
105
VIRTUE NEVER APPEARS SO AMIABLE
109
TEACHER ME TO FEEL ANOTHERS WOE
114
SORROWS OF THE HEART
117
A MAN MAY SMILE AND SMILE AND BE A VILLAIN
120
MYSTERY DEVELOPED
124
RECEPTION OF A LETTER
129
WHAT MIGHT BE EXPECTED
131

WE KNOW NOT WHAT A DAY MAY BRING FORTH
69
WHEN WE HAVE EXCITED CURIOSITY IT IS BUT AN ACT OF GOOD NATURE TO GRATIFY IT
73
CONFLICT OF LOVE AND DUTY
76
NATURES LAST BEST GIFT
79
CRUEL DISAPPOINTMENT
83
MATERNAL SORROW
87
EMBARKATION
91
NECESSARY DIGRESSION
94
A WEDDING
98
REFLECTIONS
101
PENSIVE SHE MOURND
134
A TRIFLING RETROSPECT
139
WE GO FORWARD AGAIN
142
AND WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP
146
SUBJECT CONTINUED
149
REASONS WHY AND WHEREFORE
152
WHICH PEOPLE VOID OF FEELING NEED NOT READ
155
RETRIBUTION
159
CONCLUSION
162
Copyright

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Page 35 - Charlotte, though she concealed the real names of the characters, and likewise the place where the unfortunate scenes were acted: yet as it was impossible to offer a relation to the public in such an imperfect state, I have thrown over the whole a slight veil of fiction, and substituted names and places according to my own fancy. The principal characters in this little tale are now consigned to the silent tomb: it can therefore hurt the feelings of no one; and may, I flatter myself, be of service...

About the author (1964)

Born in Portsmouth, England, Susanna Haswell Rowson distinguished herself in the American colonies as an author, actress, musician, educator, journalist, and public personality. Rowson's mother, Susanna Musgrave Haswell, died in childbirth, and subsequently the not yet five-year-old Rowson accompanied her father, William Haswell, to Massachusetts. As a British Loyalist, Haswell did not fare well in the revolutionary milieu of the colonies; he was imprisoned and ultimately deported. By her eighteenth birthday, Rowson had endured sufficient trauma---death, poverty, war, and prolonged and difficult travels---to support a host of novels. Upon her return to England, Susanna Rowson worked briefly as a governess, but in 1787 she married a hardware merchant, William Rowson. Faced with a failing business, the Rowsons joined a theater company, and in 1793 Susanna Rowson traveled to the United States as an actress. She proceeded to take up residence in the United States where she enjoyed an amazing and versatile career. Theater was relatively new in America, as the Continental Congress had banned dramatic performances until 1789. Thus, audiences were enthusiastic, and before she had been in Philadelphia a year, Rowson wrote her first play---Slaves in Algiers, or A Struggle for Freedom (1794). It became an immediate hit. In 1796 Rowson moved to Boston to join the burgeoning Federal Street Theater Company, but a year later she left the stage to found what would become the prestigious Young Girls' Academy. As headmistress, Rowson designed an ambitious curriculum and simultaneously served as editor for the Boston Weekly Magazine. Extraordinarily energetic, Rowson continued to compose music, essays, and fiction, to lecture, and to care for her three adopted children. In 1791 Rowson published Charlotte. A Tale of Truth, today known as Charlotte Temple. When the novel was released in America, three years after its earlier English publication, the book became the first American "bestseller," ultimately going through two hundred editions. The fast-paced tale of a woman's tragedy during the revolutionary era made Rowson famous and gave rise to what has been termed a "Charlotte cult," whose members visited Charlotte Temple's fictitious grave in Trinity Church in New York City. A prolific author, Rowson wrote nine other novels, as well as dramas, poetry, and collections of essays. Largely ignored as a sentimental "female scribbler" by nineteenth-century (male) critics, Rowson's reputation has soared in today's more open critical climate.