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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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4. Spirit of Nationalism   

4. Spirit of Nationalism

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Activities: Author Activities

Susanna Rowson - Selected Archive Items

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[3464] Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin book cover (1853),
courtesy of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia.
Uncle Tom's Cabin outstripped Rowson's Charlotte Temple as the best-selling book of the nineteenth century. Both were sentimental novels, a genre that has traditionally been written by women.

[3472] Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, cover (1892),
courtesy of Uncle Tom's Cabin (Riverside Paper Series, No. 43), Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1892.
This cover of the classic Uncle Tom's Cabin shows a young African American boy holding a sign, which gives the title, subtitle, and author of the work.

[4060] Anonymous, Led Astray (1874),
courtesy of the Library of Congress, Music Division.
Illustration for sheet music, words by George Cooper, music by Violetta. Plots of seduction and abandonment and redemption of young women were a staple of sentimental fiction and were used as a quiet justification for women reformers.

[6749] Anonymous, The New England Primer (1807),
courtesy of the Gettysburg College Special Collections.
The New England Primer (first published in Boston in 1690) was a popular Puritan textbook designed to promote children's literacy and religious training. Dissatisfied with such traditional primers for her female students, Susanna Rowson developed her own textbooks.

[8934] Rafia Zafar, Interview: "Sentimental Novel" (2002),
courtesy of Annenberg Media.
Zafar, director of African and Afro-American studies at Washington University, St. Louis, discusses the conventions of the sentimental novel, with reference to Harriet Jacobs.

[9059] William Waud, Civilians Entering a Theater (c. 1858-59),
courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-15679].
Susanna Rowson was a playwright and actress in Philadelphia and London and at the Federal Street Theater in Boston. She also wrote Charlotte Temple, which was the best-selling American novel until Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.

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