Just Teach One

Amelia or the Faithless Briton (1789)


Frontispiece for Amelia; or the Faithless Briton. Boston: Spotswood and Wayne, 1798.

We are starting with Amelia; or the Faithless Briton (1798), a compelling seduction narrative which makes a nice counterpoint to Charlotte Temple  (in short, Amelia is seduced into a sham marriage by a wounded British solider on Long Island. Recalled home to take up his aristocratic position, he abandons her. She crosses the Atlantic on her own and knocks on the door of his ancestral home demanding support for their child. She dies after childbirth, but the different vision of agency is compelling).


Amelia (1787) with headnote


Following are excerpts from responses written by participants who have included this text in their teachings. To read the essays in their entirety, click on the “more” link at the end of each excerpt.

Teaching Amelia in an upper-level American Women Writers course

Sari Edelstein University of Massachusetts, Boston I taught in Amelia in an upper-level English course, “American Women Writers and Culture,” and we read it in conjunction with Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple. I assigned the very short introduction to Jane Tompkins’ Sensational Designs on the first day of class, which gave students a vocabulary and a […]

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Amelia and Charlotte

Sari Altschuler University of South Florida I taught Amelia: Or the Faithless Briton this semester at the midpoint of my American literature survey paired with Susanna Rowson’s Charlotte Temple, and it worked wonderfully. Students really enjoyed the novella and overwhelmingly preferred it to Charlotte Temple, with the discussion eventually turning (perhaps a bit reluctantly on […]

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Amelia and Attachment Disorders

Michelle Burnham Santa Clara University We all know that it is generally not a good idea to do too many new things at once. I have promptly violated this rule by teaching Amelia for the first time, in a course I am teaching for the first time, which also happens to be running as a […]

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Amelia in an honors section

John Funchion University of Miami I taught Amelia, or the Faithless Briton in an honors section of my introductory survey of early U.S. literature, which revolved around the legacy of the captivity narrative and discourses on feeling.  My students read this short novel after we had concluded our discussion of Charlotte Temple. Predictably, many of […]

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A remarkably economical text

Elizabeth Hewitt The Ohio State University As part of a major renovation to our department’s major requirements and the university’s conversion from a quarter to a semester calendar, the Department of English at Ohio State decided to compress all of American literary history (“origins” to 2012) into one 14-week course. I was selected as the […]

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Doliscus, the Faithless Briton

Keri Holt Utah State University I taught Amelia, or The Faithless Briton in a senior seminar titled “Literature, Politics, and Society.” Broadly, the course focused on the relationship between novels and the politics of nationalism and revolution from the 1770s through the 1820s. Since I regularly teach Charlotte Temple and The Coquette in my “Introduction […]

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Amelia and Charlotte in the Liberal Arts Classroom

Toni Wall Jaudon Hendrix College  If, before class, you had asked many of the students in my senior seminar what they thought of Amelia, or the Faithless Briton, they would have likely told you that the best thing about Amelia was that it wasn’t Charlotte Temple. Amelia followed Charlotte on the syllabus, and my students’ […]

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“Amelia and Charlotte and Bella and Me”

Lauren Klein Georgia Institute of Technology This year, I taught a special section of my “Formations of American Culture” course for Georgia Tech’s Building Construction majors. Since most Building Construction students are preparing for careers in construction management, I adjusted the course from its usual format—a fairly traditional survey of American literature to 1865—to focus, […]

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Reading and Writing the American City

Betsy Klimasmith University of Massachusetts, Boston Amelia was the first text I pitched on opening night of my new graduate seminar, “Reading and Writing the American City.”  I chose it as the first text of the semester for several reasons: its brevity meant that students could easily read the text as they prepared to start […]

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Amelia, Agency, and the Aesthetics of Mourning

James D. Lilley SUNY Albany  In a graduate seminar I taught this semester at SUNY Albany, one of the most immediate effects of sandwiching Amelia in between James Hogg’s The Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Washington Irving’s The Sketch-Book was to emphasize the aesthetic and political versatility of modern forms of romance.  […]

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