January 21, 2014

Bookish history

On this day in 1789, the first American novel was published.
"The Power of Sympathy: or, The Triumph of Nature (1789) is an 18th-century American sentimental novel written in epistolary form by William Hill Brown, widely considered to be the first American novel. [...] The characters' struggles illustrate the dangers of seduction and the pitfalls of giving in to one's passions, while advocating the moral education of women and the use of rational thinking as ways to prevent the consequences of such actions."
 The novel explores the incestuous relationships between two fictional couples. Was this a problem in the late 1700s that no one talks about? Apparently also in the late 1700s people were liable to  kill themselves due to an overabundance of sympathy. (The "power" of sympathy is an evil influence.)

I love that  the cover boasts "Founded in Truth" which I suppose is the 18th century's version of "based on a true story" or "ripped from the headlines."

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