Chapter 2: Early American Literature 1700-1800

Susanna Haswell Rowson

© Paul P. Reuben
  October 15, 2016

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Primary Works | Selected Bibliograph1980-Present | MLA Style Citation of this Web Page |

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Source: NNDB 

Known as the first best-selling American author, Rowson is generally ignored today by the print media and rarely taught in American literature survey courses. Her popular novel Charlotte Temple shows character development and employs the popular themes of seduction and betrayal. This is probably the first American novel written specifically for women readers. She remains an important literary figure in the early years after the American revolution.

Primary Works

Victoria, A novel, 1786; Mentoria, or the Young Ladies' Friend, 1791; Charlotte, a Tale of Truth (London, 1791; US, 1794; later known as Charlotte Temple) E-Text; The Inquisitor; or, Invisible Rambler, 1793; Rebecca, or, The Fille de Chambre (London, 1792; US, 1794); Trials of the Human Heart, 1795; Reuben and Rachel, or Tales of Old Times, 1798; Sarah; or, The Exemplary Wife, 1813; Charlotte's Daughter; or, The Three Orphans. A Sequel to Charlotte Temple, 1828.

Selected Bibliography 1980-Present

Davidson, Cathy N. Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the American Novel in America. NY: Oxford UP, 1986.

Elliott, Emory. ed. American Writers of the Early Republic. Detroit: Gale, 1985.

Parker, Patricia L. Susanna Rowson. Boston: Twayne, 1986. PS2736 .R3 Z74

Schöpp, Joseph. "Liberty's Sons and Daughters: Susanna Haswell Rowson's and Royall Tyler's Algerine Captives." in Schmidt, Klaus H., and Fritz Fleischman. eds. Early America Re-Explored: New Readings in Colonial, Early National, and Antebellum Culture. NY: 2000.

Showalter, Elaine. ed. The Vintage Book of American Women Writers. NY: Vintage, 2011.

MLA Style Citation of this Web Page

Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 2: Susanna Haswell Rowson." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide. URL: (provide page date or date of your login).

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