Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon, JR.


Society always fears that something is corrupting its youth and therefore dooming the future. In the late eighteenth century, British High Society believed that the sentimental and overly dramatic courtship novel was adversely affecting the actions of marriageable young women. In response to these fears, women writers of the early nineteenth century produced literature designed to guide young women safely and happily through the steps of courtship and marriage. The impact of British society's changing views on courtship and marriage combined with the fears raised by the courtship novel in the minds of older society transformed the courtship novel of the late eighteenth century into the didactic novel and marital advice books of the early nineteenth century. The primary aim ofthe didactic novel was to impress upon their readers the importance of education and logic for women without entirely destroying the romantic notions ofthe courtship genre while the aim of the marital advice books was to provide a more accurate description of marriage.

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