Pleasures of Plot

Martha Rojas

University of Rhode Island

This semester I included The History of Constantius & Pulchera in my undergraduate survey course of colonial and U.S. literature to 1855 where it proved to be a mid-semester sensation. The course is required of students double majoring in English and Secondary Education. It also meets General Education requirements and thus attracts both a cohort of similarly trained students as well as a significant number of students from a variety of disciplines, all at various points in their academic career. In their spoken and written comments students almost invariably reported the pleasure they took in reading The History of Constantius & Pulchera. To some degree that was to be expected as the syllabus turned to include more prose fiction along with narratives, poems, sermons, letters, and documents. Yet their enthusiasm differed from that generated by The Coquette with which I paired The History of Constantius & Pulchera, and seemed greater than that which in other iterations of the course had met Wieland, or Charlotte Temple. Continue reading “Pleasures of Plot”