Studies in American Fiction
Though not well known, Rowson's Mentoria-a curious conglomeration of thematically-related pieces from multiple genres, including the essay, epistolary novel, conduct book, and fairy tale-offers particularly fertile ground for thinking about the nexus between eighteenth-century didactic books and earlier works for young readers.2 At the heart of Mentoria is a series of letters describing girls who yield, with dire and frequently deadly consequences, to the passionate pleas of male suitors.3 Fallen women populate Rowson's world, and scholars have traditionally read Mentoria within the familiar bounds of the eighteenth-century seduction novel.4 However, Rowson's creation transforms the older tradition of didactic, child-centered conversion literature in response to the marked cultural shifts in the way adults viewed youth and education, particularly under the influence of John Locke. First in Boston and then in Medford and Newton, Massachusetts, the academy was the culmination of Rowson's life-long interest in female education.
Literature and Languages
Recommended APA Citation.
Roggenkamp, K. (2011). Reasonable conversions: Susanna Rowson’s mentoria and conversion narratives for young readers. Studies in American Fiction, 38(1-2), 185–203. https://doi.org/10.1353/saf.2011.0010
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