Hannah Webster Foster Further Reading - Essay

Further Reading

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)


White, Devon. “Contemporary Criticism of Five Early American Sentimental Novels, 1970-1994: An Annotated Bibliography.” Bulletin of Bibliography 52, No. 14 (1995): 293-305.

Brief bibliography of The Coquette that includes editions and secondary sources.


Baker, Dorothy Z. “‘Detested Be the Epithet!’: Definition, Maxim, and the Language of Social Dicta in Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette.Essays in English Literature 23, No. 1 (Spring 1996): 58-68.

Examines Eliza's use of language in The Coquette, asserting that her struggle to take control of her life begins with her attempt to take control of language.

Evans, Gareth. “Rakes, Coquettes, and Republican Patriarchs: Class, Gender, and Nation in Early American Sentimental Fiction.” Canadian Review of American Studies 25, No. 3 (Fall 1995): 41-62.

Discusses the role of sentimental novels, including The Coquette, in “inventing” a social model for a middle class in America.

Hamilton, Kristie. “An Assault on the Will: Republican Virtue and the City in Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette.Early American Literature 24, No. 2 (1989): 135-51.

Attributes Eliza's problems to the conflict between the middle-class domestic sphere and the city, and points out that the republican ideal failed women like Eliza because it didn't, ultimately, meet their emotional and intellectual needs.

Pettengill, Claire. “Hannah Webster Foster (1758-1840).” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 12, No. 2 (1995): 133-41.

General introduction to Foster's life, works, and critical history.

Tassoni, John Paul. “‘I can step out of myself a little’: Feminine Virtue and Female Friendship in Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette.” In Communication and Women's Friendships: Parallels and Intersections in Literature and Life, edited by Janet Doubler Ward and JoAnna Stephens Mink, pp. 97-111. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1993.

Analyzes “the discourse of virtue” with which Eliza struggles in The Coquette as she tries both to preserve her social relationships with her friends and to preserve her own identity.

Wenska, Walter P. “The Coquette and the American Dream of Freedom.” Early American Literature 12, No. 3 (Winter 1977-78): 243-55.

Explores Foster's treatment of the theme of personal freedom in The Coquette, especially as it relates to the context of the early American republic.

Additional coverage of Foster's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 37: American Writers of the Early Republic; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 200: American Women Prose Writers to 1820.