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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The period from 1795 to 1800 saw Charles Brockden Brown move from a primary intellectual grounding in Philadelphia to a network of associates in New York called the Friendly Club. This shift eased other transitions: away from Quaker practice and Christian belief and toward freethinking; away from the sentimentalism of Rousseau and toward the radical sensibility of Godwin and Wollstonecraft; away from legal study and toward professional writing and editing; and away from the polite regulation of mixed-sex sociability and toward increasingly unconventional views on friendship between men and women that would find expression in some of his earliest published writing. From 1799 to 1804, coinciding with his courtship of Elizabeth Linn, Brown’s editorial career gradually eclipsed his efforts as a novelist. He continued to edit and write prolifically, if not profitably, during his final years, as he negotiated the sometimes controversial reputation his early work had generated.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, William Dunlap, William Linn, Friendly Club, literary clubs, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, magazines, editors, friendship

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