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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Charles Brockden Brown, who edited three periodicals between 1799 and 1809, used his experience as a novelist to engage readers on important cultural issues. His periodicals became increasingly political. Brown’s “Annals of Europe and America” document historical events, his capacity as a novelist to write “history,” and his status as an ironic historian. In assessing Napoleonic rule and British expansion, he develops a self-conscious method that also informs his inquiry into American events. He sympathetically renders oppressed others in India, comments ironically on motives for exploiting the American west, and interrogates political intrigue in the 1808 Republican nomination process. With developing awareness of the constructed, contingent nature of history, Brown came to understand political self-interest, power and imperialism, and American exceptionalism relative to that of Europe. As in his novels, he imaginatively and provocatively employed genre conventions of the day to represent the past and critically reflect on the present.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, “Annals of Europe and America,” historiography, historical objectivity, political self-interest, imperialism, colonialism, American exceptionalism, irony, periodicals

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