Friday, December 28, 2012

Catharine Sedgwick

Born this day in 1789: Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789–1867), popular writer in the early American tradition

A native of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Sedgwick received a sporadic but good education, both at home and away. At one time her name was uttered in the same breath as that of James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving as writers who invented American literature. Sedgwick wrote historical novels, romances, and tales of moral instruction. Her best and best-known novel is Hope Leslie (1827), a story set in New England about conflicts between Puritan settlers and the local native population. Instead of showing the noble white pitted against the base savage, or the white woman as victim to rapacious Indians, the novel was sympathetic to the injustices done to the Pequots and featured women as heroes. It also boldly portrays romance and marriage between a white settler woman and a Pequot man.

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