Charlotte Temple

Explaining the Success and Popularity of Susanna Rowson's 'Charlotte Temple' College

In her novel Charlotte: A Tale of Truth, probably better known under the title of Charlotte Temple, Susanna Rowson relates the unfortunate life of a young girl for a specific purpose that she presents in the opening lines of her work, through the following words: “and may, I flatter myself, be of service to some who are so unfortunate as to have neither friends to advise, nor understanding to direct them, through the various and unexpected evils that attend young and unprotected woman in her first entrance into life” (Rowson 3). The author of this masterpiece probably ignored at that time the success that her work would encounter through the following centuries. Indeed, firstly published in 1791 in England, Charlotte Temple has gone over two hundred editions to this day and is still described as “entertaining and readable” nowadays (Parker 59). The fact that a conduct manual originally written to educate young girls of the late eighteenth century remains popular to this day is probably the result of countless factors. The purpose of this essay is to discuss three of the numerous aspects of the story that contributed to the popularity of Charlotte Temple. It will be suggested that the success of this novel comes, primarily, from...

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