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Brown, Charles Brockden. (1771 - 1810).

L i f e

- considered the 1st professional American novelist

- to support himself became a merchant

- edited successively 3 periodicals, wrote political pamphlets, and projected a compendium on geography

W o r k

< influenced by William Godwin’s Caleb Williams > introduced gothic romances

- explores abnormal states of mind, paranormal phenomena, and questions the natural morality celebrated by his contemporaries

- builds his plots around particular motifs: sleepwalking, religious mania, etc.

- instead of superstitions, manners, Gothic castles, and chimeras, the American writer should draw on the incidents of Indian hostility, and the perils of western wilderness

> influenced Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe

Wieland; or, the Transformation (1798)

Ormond; or, the Secret Witness (1799)

Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799)


"A woman capable of recollection in danger, of warding off groundless panics, of discerning the true mode of proceeding, and profiting by her best resources, is a prodigy".

From Wieland (1798).


(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Charles Brockden Brown. (1771 - 1810). American.
  • Work

    Novelist. The first American  professional novelist.
  • Genre

    Gothic romance.


Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


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