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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

By considering the centrality of Wieland in the development of American literary history, this chapter moves to reaffirm its importance for students of US literature. The chapter begins by surveying the major editions of Wieland, from the first modern edition in 1926 through the scholarly editions in the early twenty-first century. In so doing, the chapter charts how scholars have often recursively positioned Wieland as a bellwether text in the formation of narratives about the development of American literary history, a practice that is often predicated on positioning the text as either the first or the first noteworthy early American novel. In tracing the evolution of the critical reception of the text, the chapter moves to underscore how Wieland’s enduring contribution to our understanding of the development of American literature and culture remains Brown’s insistence on the fallibility of isolationist narratives to register accurate genealogies or histories.

Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland, firstness, literary history, pre-Revolutionary, reception history, Gothic, world-system, transatlantic, editorial framing

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