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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys Charles Brockden Brown’s early biography into five sections. The first provides background on eighteenth-century Quaker history and culture in Philadelphia, including the unlawful arrest and banishment of Elijah Brown, Charles’s father. The second section reviews Brown’s youth, adolescence, and education. The third discusses his law apprenticeship from 1787 to 1793, a period during which he participated in literary clubs, experimented with writing, and developed meaningful friendships. His letters during these years show interest in a variety of moral issues and sometimes critique traditional tenets of Christianity. The fourth section discusses Brown’s early publications and his manuscript epistolary narratives. The final section focuses on the years 1793–1795, when Brown strengthened connections with the New York intellectual circle and distanced himself from his Philadelphia social network, culminating in a cogent rejection of Christianity.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, Quaker, Philadelphia, education, law, literary clubs, friendship, letters, epistolary narratives, Christianity

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