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Libertinism and Authorship in America's Early Republic

Libertinism and Authorship in America's Early Republic American Literature, Volume 72, Number 1, March 2000. Copyright © 2000 by Duke University Press. 5995 AL 72:1 / sheet 6 of 246 American Literature Female Quixotism thus warns against the dangers lurking in bad novels by dramatizing Dorcasina’s repeated undoing by a series of false men, all of whom ventriloquize the stilted melodramatic language of sentimental novels as part of their design to acquire Dorcasina and her considerable estate.2 Not only the fortune-hunting O’Connor but also the trick-playing ‘‘Philander,’’ the class-crossing James, and the merchant Cumberland parrot the sentimental locutions of the seduction novel in order to advance their designs on the aging heroine. In this respect, Tenney’s novel could be said to imagine a relation between masculine sexual agency and narrative agency, a relation that suggests that the ability to counterfeit genuine sentiment posed a significant threat not only to young females but also to a young nation besieged, according to former president John Adams, by smooth-talking libertine males: ‘‘The time would fail me to enumerate all the Lovelaces in the United States. It would be an amusing romance to compare their actions with his.’’ 3 Whether whispering the self-interested nonsense of love or of democracy, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Literature Duke University Press

Libertinism and Authorship in America's Early Republic

American Literature , Volume 72 (1) – Mar 1, 2000

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0002-9831
eISSN
1527-2117
DOI
10.1215/00029831-72-1-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

American Literature, Volume 72, Number 1, March 2000. Copyright © 2000 by Duke University Press. 5995 AL 72:1 / sheet 6 of 246 American Literature Female Quixotism thus warns against the dangers lurking in bad novels by dramatizing Dorcasina’s repeated undoing by a series of false men, all of whom ventriloquize the stilted melodramatic language of sentimental novels as part of their design to acquire Dorcasina and her considerable estate.2 Not only the fortune-hunting O’Connor but also the trick-playing ‘‘Philander,’’ the class-crossing James, and the merchant Cumberland parrot the sentimental locutions of the seduction novel in order to advance their designs on the aging heroine. In this respect, Tenney’s novel could be said to imagine a relation between masculine sexual agency and narrative agency, a relation that suggests that the ability to counterfeit genuine sentiment posed a significant threat not only to young females but also to a young nation besieged, according to former president John Adams, by smooth-talking libertine males: ‘‘The time would fail me to enumerate all the Lovelaces in the United States. It would be an amusing romance to compare their actions with his.’’ 3 Whether whispering the self-interested nonsense of love or of democracy,

Journal

American LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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