or, A Tale of Our Own Times
  • Publication Date: October 20, 2011
  • ISBN: 9781551118611 / 1551118610
  • 482 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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or, A Tale of Our Own Times

  • Publication Date: October 20, 2011
  • ISBN: 9781551118611 / 1551118610
  • 482 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Banner reading Teaching the survey? Learn more about The Broadview Anthology of American Literature, with covers of the available volumes

Honorable mention recipient for the 2012 Society for the Study of American Women Writers Award.

A pioneering American novel of manners first published in 1830, Catharine Sedgwick’s Clarence follows heiress Gertrude Clarence as she negotiates the perils of the marriage market in New York City. Giving Gertrude’s family English and Caribbean histories, Sedgwick aligns the United States in the 1820s with a larger Atlantic world. This edition of Sedgwick’s cosmopolitan novel will contribute to a rethinking both of the history of the American novel of manners and to the shape of Sedgwick’s career as one of the most important novelists of the first half of the nineteenth century.

This Broadview edition offers a rich selection of contextual materials, including selections from Sedgwick’s correspondence and journals reconstructing the origins of the novel, engravings and lithographs of key sites in the novel, American and British reviews of the novel, and documentation of the author’s revised edition of 1849.


“This new edition of Clarence continues the important resurrection of Sedgwick’s writing for the use of both scholarship and teaching. The editors and press have done an excellent job of constructing a user-friendly edition of this important novel, while also including appended materials that richly contextualize it in antebellum literary history and transatlantic literary and cultural relations. The edition will undoubtedly get a lot of good use in the future.” — Philip Gould, Brown University

“Homestead and Foster prove that this intensely urban novel deserves a central place in the American literary canon. Both the novel itself and the scholarly apparatus they supply show that Americans were producing fine novels of manners as early as 1830. An excellent edition of a fascinating novel, richly contextualized and historicized.” — Susan K. Harris, University of Kansas

Introduction, Melissa J. Homestead
Catharine Maria Sedgwick: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Clarence; or, A Tale of Our Own Times

Appendix A: The American Novel of Manners and Transatlantic Literary Culture

  1. From William Cullen Bryant’s Review of Redwood, The North American Review (April 1825)
  2. From the Correspondence of Rachel Mordecai Lazarus, Maria Edgeworth, and Catharine Sedgwick (1824-27)
  3. From Catharine Sedgwick’s Journal Describing Society at Saratoga Springs (1827)
  4. Correspondence between Captain Basil Hall and Catharine Sedgwick (1827)
  5. From Basil Hall, Travels in North America, In the Years 1827 and 1828 (1829)

Appendix B: Images of Trenton Falls

  1. G.B. Ellis, Engraver, after Thomas Doughty, Trenton Falls (1826)
  2. Catherine Scollay, Lithograph, Fifth View of Trenton Falls (c. 1825-26)
  3. After George Innes, Engraved Title Page of Clarence, by C.M. Sedgwick (1849)

Appendix C: Images of New York City, c. 1830 and c. 1849

  1. After J.H. Dakin, Engraved by Barnard & Dick, “Bowling Green, Broadway” (1831)
  2. After J.H. Dakin, Engraved by Barnard & Dick, “Broadway from the Park” (1831)
  3. After August Köllner, Lithography by Deroy, “Broad-way” (1850)
  4. Advertisement for the Masquerade from the New-York Evening Post (29 February 1829)

Appendix D: Selected American and British Reviews of the 1830 Edition of Clarence

  1. New-York Evening Post (14 June 1830)
  2. American Monthly Magazine (July 1830)
  3. Ladies’ Magazine and Literary Gazette (July 1830)
  4. George Stillman Hillard, The North American Review (January
  5. The London Literary Gazette (7 August 1830)
  6. The Ladies Museum (1 September 1830)
  7. Colburn’s New Monthly Magazine (September 1830)

Appendix E: The 1849 Author’s Revised Edition of Clarence

  1. Advertisements for “Miss Sedgwick’s Works” and Clarence
    1. George P. Putnam, Advertisement for “Miss Sedgwick’s Works,” The Literary World (22 September 1849)
    2. George P. Putnam, Advertisement for the Revised Clarence, The Literary World (13 October 1849)
  2. Sedgwick’s Preface to Clarence; or, A Tale of Our Own Times (1849)
  3. Review from The Christian Inquirer (6 October 1849)
  4. Review from The Literary World (6 October 1849)


Melissa J. Homestead is Susan J. Rosowski Associate Professor of English and Program Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Ellen A. Foster is Associate Professor of English at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.