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date: 04 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the various things that sex does and can mean in Charles Brockden Brown’s corpus, with particular attention to his novels. Following on Brown’s discussion in “Walstein’s History,” the chapter takes for granted that sex has at least three different meanings: sex as gender, sex as marriage, and sex as sexuality. Though Brown’s works depict sex in plural ways, the works are not consistent in their representations of the relationship among these plural aspects of sex or in their emphases on which aspects matter most. Sex accordingly has become an interpretative problem for readers of Brown’s novels: what meaning or meanings for sex are being represented, and to what end? The chapter surveys scholarly attempts to make sense of Brown’s engagements with sex in its multiple forms, in an effort to identify which meanings might best serve readers of Brown’s novels.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, sex, gender, sexuality, marriage, feminism, queer, representation

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