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Comprehensive and accessible, this Companion addresses several well-known themes in the study of Franklin and his writings, while also showing Franklin in conversation with his British and European counterparts in science, philosophy, and social theory. Specially commissioned chapters, written by scholars well-known in their respective fields, examine Franklin's writings and his life with a new sophistication, placing Franklin in his cultural milieu while revealing the complexities of his intellectual, literary, social, and political views. Individual chapters take up several traditional topics, such as Franklin and the American dream, Franklin and capitalism, and Franklin's views of American national character. Other chapters delve into Franklin's library and his philosophical views on morality, religion, science, and the Enlightenment and explore his continuing influence in American culture. This Companion will be essential reading for students and scholars of American literature, history and culture.
Written in epistolary form and drawn from actual events, The Power of Sympathy (1789) and The Coquette (1797) were two of the earliest novels published in America. William Hill Brown's The Power of Sympathy reflects eighteenth-century America's preoccupation with the role of women as safekeepers of the country's morality. A novel about the dangers of succumbing to sexual temptations and the rewards of resistance, it was meant to promote women's moral rectitude, and the letters through which the story is told are filled with advice on the proper relationships between the sexes. Like The Power of Sympathy, Hannah Webster Foster's The Coquette is concerned with womanly virtue. Eliza Wharton is eager to enjoy a bit of freedom before settling down to domestic life and begins a flirtation with the handsome, rakish Sanford. Their letters trace their relationship from its romantic beginnings to the transgression that inevitably brings their exclusion from proper society. In her Introduction, Carla Mulford discusses the novels' importance in the development of American literature and as vivid reflections of the goal to establish a secure republic built on the virtue of its citizens. --BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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