Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Carolyn Lawes

Committee Member

Karlin A. Wulf

Committee Member

Jane T. Merrett

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 P79


This study investigates representations of gender in fiction during the era of the American Revolution. Literature has an important role in creating and responding to cultural values, as well as in conveying ideologies. Through analysis of fictional stories for children, the simultaneous presence of themes of gender, religion, liberalism, and republicanism will be documented. Children's stories from England were reprinted in America after the Revolution. The continuity between late nineteenth century American success narratives and their early eighteenth century British precursors, as well as their gendered nature, will be demonstrated.

American fiction of the late eighteenth century foreshadowed both the mid-nineteenth century domestic novel and the gender ideology of female moral reformers. This study suggests that women might be regarded as republican friends, as well as republican wives and mothers. Young women are represented as forming semipublic communication networks that defy the dichotomy between public and private spheres. Most of the primary sources used in this study consist of fictional stories from the Early American Imprints collection.


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