Sincerity and Captivity

Laura M. Stevens
University of Tulsa


Given the title of this text, I suppose I should be, well, sincere about how the class went. The students were great, the text was great, but I did not quite meet my own expectations for this particular teaching endeavor. It was not a disaster by any means, but the four 50-minute classes I led on this novel felt more like the rough draft of the classes I would like to teach in the future than ones I was proud to have taught. Continue reading “Sincerity and Captivity”

Cultures of Marriage

Eric Norton

Marymount University

I taught Susannah Rowson’s Sincerity in a 200-level early American literature survey course of 30 students in our core curriculum. Marymount is a small, liberal arts college with a sizeable business school, school of education, and a school of health professions, so in our core classes there tend to be only a handful of English majors alongside a majority of students coming from a wide variety of disciplines and perspectives. I was pleasantly surprised by how compelling the novel was for most students in the class. Not only that, the text helped them grasp a number of cultural particularities of the early nineteenth century—the structures of feeling around sexual morality, for example—and it was an excellent example of how a literary text can simultaneously help to sustain and challenge powerful ideological formations. Continue reading “Cultures of Marriage”