Crèvecoeur, J. Hector St. John


Colonial Franco-American Writer and Diplomat

In 1924, the writer D. H. Lawrence famously identified J. Hector St. John Crèvecoeur as the “emotional…prototype of the American” (Lawrence, 29). A writer known for the optimistic depiction of early America's exceptional promise in his best known work, Letters from an American Farmer (1782), Crèvecoeur illustrated several aspects of ideal masculinity in the pre-Revolutionary period. The qualities described in the first half of the book—including benevolence, self-reliance, exemplary fatherhood, domestic husbandry, sincerity, virtue, and sentimentality—provide a portrait of American masculinity quite different from those that would later dominate American manhood.

Born into an aristocratic Normandy family in 1735, Michel-Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur was educated by Jesuits before moving to England in 1754; he moved to French Canada a year later. ...

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