Fiction > Susanna Haswell Rowson > Charlotte Temple: A Tale of Truth
Susanna Haswell Rowson (1762–1824).  Charlotte Temple: A Tale of Truth.  1905.
Why This Edition
SEVERAL reasons exist for undertaking a new edition of Mrs. Rowson’s story. The more obvious ones may be indicated here:  1
  1. Owing to frequent reprints, extending over more than a century, the text has become so corrupt that it cries aloud for restoration to its original state. Large and small, the errors in the best current edition, by actual count, make a total of 1265.  2
  2. There has been need of a brief memoir of Mrs. Rowson to accompany her story, as one of the most widely read of modern books. In the number of copies actually printed and read in America, it is doubtful if any work of fiction has surpassed this little “Tale of Truth.”  3
  3. Mrs. Rowson having assured her readers that the story was founded on actual occurrences, some of which were within her personal knowledge, all the facts in the case known or ascertainable ought to be made accessible, and especially all that is known of Charlotte as a real person.  4
  4. A detailed statement has been needed as to the authenticity of the tombstone in Trinity churchyard, which, for four generations, has been a place of constant pilgrimage, and has evoked many unaffected tears.  5
  5. It is believed that in no edition heretofore printed have readers been furnished with an outline of the life of the English army officer who is the accepted original of Montraville.  6
  6. In the matter of mere book-making the story has deserved a place in the company of standard fiction as offered in the better class of bookstores, and this it seems never to have had—at least not since the earliest years in its history.  7
  7. In undertaking to meet these requirements, it is clear that the new edition should be illustrated from authentic material.  8
  8. Inasmuch as the best list heretofore printed comprises only sixteen editions of the work, an attempt at a more complete bibliography seemed to be called for. It has resulted in a list of one hundred and four, but with many editions still missing.  9
  9. While Joseph Sabin described the book as “the most popular romance of its generation,” and it has not lacked for popularity in any of the three generations that have elapsed since its own, we shall search in vain for Charlotte’s name in dictionaries of biography and in lists of noted names of fiction.
F. W. H.    
    NEW YORK, August 25, 1905.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.