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Coquette, Or The History of Eliza Wharton

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By: (1758-1840)

The classic early American epistolary novel about the seduction and ruin of a passionate young woman. Based on the true story of Elizabeth Whitman, whose lonesome death in childbirth in a Connecticut inn sparked widespread discussion and outrage, the novel went through many editions and innumerable printings in the century after its initial publication in 1797.

First Page:

[Illustration: Eliza Wharton]

THE COQUETTE; OR, THE HISTORY OF ELIZA WHARTON.

A NOVEL: FOUNDED ON FACT.

BY A LADY OF MASSACHUSETTS.

HISTORICAL PREFACE, INCLUDING A MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.

He who waits beside the folded gates of mystery, over which forever float the impurpled vapors of the PAST, should stand with girded loins, and white, unshodden feet. So he who attempts to lift the veil that separates the REAL from the IDEAL, or to remove the heavy curtain that for a century may have concealed from view the actual personages of a well drawn popular fiction, or what may have been received as such, should bring to his task a tender heart and a delicate and gentle hand.

Thus, in preparing an introductory chapter for these pages which are to follow, many and various thoughts suggest themselves, and it is necessary to recognize and pursue them with gentleness and caution.

The romance of "Eliza Wharton" appeared in print not many years subsequent to the assumed transactions it so faithfully attempts to record... Continue reading book >>


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