Frank Shuffelton (essay date 1986)
SOURCE: “Mrs. Foster's Coquette and the Decline of Brotherly Watch,” in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Vol. 16, 1986, pp. 211-24.
[In the following essay, Shuffelton discusses The Coquette in the context of the changing culture in eighteenth-century America, focusing on how fashionable behavior displaced religious dictates as the standard of morality.]
If one makes an informal survey of the novels written by Americans and published in New England before 1800, one is struck by the overwhelming preponderance of sentimental fictions about beleaguered females, hapless orphans, and seduced and abandoned heroines.1 The earliest of these...
(The entire section is 6192 words.)