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Lucinda; or, The Mountain Mourner

P.D. Manvill edited and with an introduction by Mischelle B. Anthony

Publication Year: 2009

In 1807, a small rural New York press published the first edition of P. D. Manvill’s Lucinda; or, The Mountain Mourner. Over the next five decades no fewer than ten printings of the novel appeared in three different states. In the book, the eponymous heroine is one of seven children left to the ailing and poverty-stricken widower Adrian Manvill. Although it is a memoir, Lucinda reads like a sentimental epistolary novel, where the heroine is seduced, abandoned, and then dies in isolation shortly after her illegitimate child is born. Mischelle B. Anthony’s critical edition rescues this once-popular cautionary tale from obscurity and positions it among such classic early American narratives as Charlotte Temple and The Coquette.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ix


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pp. xi

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pp. xiii-xv

This book owes its success to my English and humanities colleagues at Wilkes University, especially Dr. Lawrence Kuhar, chairperson, who taught me how worthwhile it is to encourage and support scholarship in a liberal arts institution. Drs. Marcia Farrell, Thomas Hamill, Maria Hebert- Leiter, Kathleen Kemmerer, Chad Stanley, and Janet Starner make that vision real.

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A Note on the Text

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pp. xvii

The following edition of Lucinda; or, The Mountain Mourner reproduces W. & A. Child’s first edition in 1807 except for the two prefaces originating in William Child’s second edition (1810). Beyond a very few changed words in J. Comstock’s third edition (1817) and this edition’s change to the punctuation in Manvill’s title, other minor variations across the eleven printings of Manvill’s text are accidental in nature and nonauthorial. This text keeps intact the original spelling, usage, and punctuation.

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pp. xix-lxxxvi

This introduction investigates a young woman’s death treated as fiction, a popular book from an otherwise unknown writer, and a village in upstate New York dealing with a moral quandary in its midst. The center of this history, P. D. Manvill’s Lucinda; or, The Mountain Mourner, reads as a sentimental novel. Popular in the late eighteenth century, such novels retell the same plot: an unprincipled man seduces a young woman and then abandons her after a long courtship and promise of marriage.

Lucinda; or, The Mountain Mourner

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To the Public (1810)

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pp. 1

We the undernamed, having perused the Book entitled Lucinda; or the Mountain Mourner, &c. recommend it to the attention of the American public, and particularly to the young and inexperienced, as possessing, from its being founded on realities, superior merit to most publications of a similar nature. It contains, according to the best information (and some of us are thoroughly acquainted with many of the circumstances therein recorded) a narrative statement of the most incontestable facts; and is well calculated to afford not only amusement, but useful instruction, to every reader of sensibility and reflection.

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Preface to the Second Edition (1810)

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pp. 3-9

Having been frequently solicited by individuals, to relate the melancholy scene that took place when we attended, as Magistrates, to the enquiry of the last place of legal residence of Lucinda, and her means of subsistence; we the more readily comply with your request in furnishing you for publication, a short narrative of the facts to which we were witnesses, and our opinion of the history of Lucinda, as written by Mrs. Manvill.

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To the Reader (1807)

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pp. 11

To tell you that I have been urged against my own inclinations, to enter on this truly painful task, would be deviating from that which I humbly trust will be the governing principles of my life: And though the request of those friends who partake of a heart felt interest in promoting the work, may have had great influence; yet the conscious duty I owe an Innocent Orphan, cast on a world of unfeeling conjecture (exclusive of what is due to the deceased, and those of the present and future generations, who are desirous of profiting by the ...

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pp. 13-96

You are alarmed at my long silence, and fear that the heart, whose every sensation you once knew and affectionately approved, has suffered a material change.—You mistake the cause. Learn it then, from a series of writings, which I presume will sufficiently elucidate it, and convince you that for many months, I have had no time to devote to you. Ever accustomed to receiving the most melancholy epistles from your sister, you will not be surprised to find, that Providence, for wise purposes, still holds out to her the cup of affliction. May she be enabled with cheerful submission, to bow to the throne of Omnipotence; and with humble gratitude, receive the bitter draught. My next shall present you with a clue, which leads to my sorrowful tale.


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pp. 97-102

Other Titles in Writing American Women

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pp. 103

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651130
E-ISBN-10: 0815651139
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632085
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632088

Page Count: 144
Illustrations: 14 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2009