Born at the point of American Independence and living through the political revolutions and culturally romantic eras of Europe, Charles Brockden Brown was a man of his time. He revelled in the forces of independence, freedom and republicanism during America’s founding years, writing pamphlets, articles, letters and uniquely American gothic fiction. Hard work, economic progress and personal freedom were key drivers for the search of an early American identity and Brockden Brown’s work also reflects the adolescence of his country: arrogant and energetic, it was psychologically fragile with great fears lurking all around.
Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810) was the first major American novelist. He also was the first American to earn a living as an author.
Seth Cardin and Jennifer Bird presenting lectures on Gothic horror as delivered through the works of Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810) and Edgar Allan Poe
In 1798, a decade after the Founding Fathers created a nation based on the principles of liberty and equality, Charles Brockden Brown, then an unknown Philadelphia writer, invented the American Gothic novel. His first book, “Wieland,” is the story of a religious fanatic haunted by demonic voices instructing him to murder his wife and children. In subsequent works, a young country bumpkin confronts the depravities of city existence, an impecunious daughter becomes the erotic obsession of an insane egomaniacal rationalist and a sleepwalker awakes to—and participates in—the extremes of frontier savagery.