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When it first appeared in 1767, The Female American was called a "sort of second Robinson Crusoe; full of wonders." Indeed, The Female American is an adventure novel about an English protagonist shipwrecked on a deserted isle, where survival requires both individual ingenuity and careful negotiations with visiting local Indians. But what most distinguishes Winkfield's novel is her protagonist, a woman who is of mixed race. Though the era's popular novels typically featured women in the confining contexts of the home and the bourgeois marriage market, Winkfield's novel portrays an autonomous and mobile heroine living alone in the wilds of the New World, independently interacting with both Native Americans and visiting Europeans. Moreover, The Female American is one of the earliest novelistic efforts to articulate an American identity, and more specifically to investigate what that identity might promise for women. Along with discussion of authorship issues, the Broadview edition contains excerpts from English and American source texts. This is the only edition available.
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