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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the potential causes of and responses to the yellow fever outbreaks in Philadelphia and New York during the late eighteenth century. Disrupting routines, halting commerce, and endangering the health and welfare of residents of these areas, the outbreaks also play a central role in the writings of Charles Brockden Brown, who used them to frame some of his novels and tales and to position his characters in moments of crisis. Moreover, this chapter connects the dilemma in the “Man at Home” series to the founding father and debtor Robert Morris, and through this connection we see how Brown positions debt alongside yellow fever as social crises that his characters must navigate. By exploring how Brown used yellow fever in his writing and how scholars have interpreted this use, this chapter explains the multifaceted roles that the disease had on Brown and our understanding of his work.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, yellow fever, disease, Ormond, Arthur Mervyn, “Man at Home,” Robert Morris, debt

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