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Somnambulism and other stories

A collection of stories by

O! What splendid fortune that the Library of America should be so generous as to rescue from the mists of oblivion such an author as Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810). This son of Pennslyvania Quakers was sent forth to obtain an education in preparation for an eventual career in the law, but then he came upon the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Samuel Richardson, whose novels inspired Brown to embark upon a literary career of his own. Years of poverty and ill health--for young Brown was a consumptive--followed, and then, within a four-year period, he would produce seven novels, three of which have been gathered in this volume. Here you will encounter a young man, newly arrived in the city of Philadelphia, caught in the grip of the yellow fever, whose employer is revealed as an adulterous, murderous fiend (Arthur Mervyn). You will be introduced to the protagonist of Edgar Huntly, whose efforts to unmask the killer of his best friend launch him into a somnabulent landscape drenched with the blood of cougars and Indians. And, in Wieland, you will confront, along with Clara, the dreadful threat posed by the master of ventriloquism! You may scoff at such terrors, O jaded reader, steeped in the demonic gore and Freudian underpinnings of contemporary horror and suspense, but know this--the outpourings of the fevered imagination of Charles Brockden Brown--who lived and wrote well before Poe, before Lovecraft--are a vital source of the power the Gothic continues to have over the American reader today. V.C. Andrews, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson ... these and so many more (even, some whisper, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison) live under the gloomy shadow of Brown's melodramas. How long, reader, before you, too, have succumbed to their 18th-century charms?

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Paperback Editions

November 1987 : Paperback
Title: Charles Brockden Brown (Studien und Texte zur Amerikanistik)
Author(s): Alfred Weber
ISBN: 3820454012 / 978-3820454017
Publisher: Peter Lang GmbH
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

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