Publication Title

Studies in American Fiction

Document Type

Article

Abstract/Description

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.

Department

Literature and Languages

First Page

185

Last Page

203

Volume

38

Issue

1/2

ISSN

00918083

Date

Spring 2011

Comments

Copyright © 2011 Karen Roggenkamp. This article first appeared in Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 38(1/2): 2011, 185-203. Reprinted with permission by John Hopkins University Press.

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