EvE Tavor BannET University of Oklahoma The Constantias of the 1790s Tales of Constancy and Republican Daughters Little attention has been paid to the many tales of constancy, fidelity, and fortitude authored by "an American lady" during the "nativist" 1790s or, indeed, to the way they were supported by printers who reprinted British tales and exhortations on these same interconnected themes. Yet the Constantias of the 1790s were more popular with American readers during this decade than Harriot, Eliza, or even Charlotte, and more obviously relevant to the building of the new nation, to early republican womanhood, and to most women's ordinary lives. The most widely read of these tales offered models of unswerving, principled, and courageous female agency and of virtuous women, undaunted by patriarchs, penury, danger, and war, submitting nobly to troubles and sufferings to establish families in America. They taught that the establishment of virtuous, happy families and the stability of the early Republic depended on daughters' patriotic constancy and fortitude. American-authored tales of constancy were generally transatlantic, or had a transatlantic component, which addressed the relationship of Americans to foreign commercial ventures and seductive British or French metropoles. They offered a sort of counterdiscourse
Early American Literature – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jun 27, 2014
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