The Coquette

The Coquette


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The Coquette by Hannah W. Foster

The Coquette tells the much-publicized story of the seduction and death of Elizabeth Whitman, a poet from Hartford, Connecticut.
Written as a series of letters—between the heroine and her friends and lovers—it describes her long, tortuous courtship by two men, neither of whom perfectly suits her. Eliza Wharton (as Whitman is called in the novel) wavers between Major Sanford, a charming but insincere man, and the Reverend Boyer, a bore who wants to marry her. When, in her mid-30s, Wharton finds herself suddenly abandoned when both men marry other women, she willfully enters into an adulterous relationship with Sanford and becomes pregnant. Alone and dejected, she dies in childbirth at a roadside inn. Eliza Wharton, whose real-life counterpart was distantly related to Hannah Foster's husband, was one of the first women in American fiction to emerge as a real person facing a dilemma in her life. In her Introduction, Davidson discusses the parallels between Elizabeth Whitman and the fictional Eliza Wharton. She shows the limitations placed on women in the 18th century and the attempts of one woman to rebel against those limitations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195042399
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/28/1987
Series: Early American Women Writers Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 183,569
Product dimensions: 7.90(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Cathy N. Davidson, Professor of English at Michigan State University, is author most recently of Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America.

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Coquette 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Whisperlynn More than 1 year ago
Wow. This is such an intriguing tale to begin with, especially when you learn the true-life inspiration for it and the connection the author had to it. As the story unfolds through correspondences between several different characters things get very interesting indeed and by the end I was in tears…even having known the outcome from the start! I read this to educate myself on the social intercourses of the time period in America (as opposed to Jane Austen's England), and was very enlightened as well as entertained. Highly recommend.
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