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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces Charles Brockden Brown’s theories of romance, history, and the novel, from his earliest fictional-historical essays, “The Rhapsodist” (1789), “Walstein’s School of History” (1799), and “The Difference between History and Romance” (1800); to Wieland; or, The Transformation (1798) and Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799); to An Address to the Government of the United States (1803) and “Annals of Europe and America” (1807–1810). For Brown, romance is a form of conjectural history, true because of its imaginative range beyond the limitations of the novel’s verisimilitude. The future-oriented romance is especially suited to the local and regional conditions of the United States and uniquely connected to the geography of the nation. Brown’s influence can be found in later writers of romance, such as Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, romance, conjectural history, novel, William Godwin, moral painter, regionalism, sympathy, French Terror

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