From Virtue's blissful paths away The double-tongued are sure to stray; Good is a forth-right journey still, And mazy paths but lead to ill. —by Charles Brockden Brown (1798). Wieland, T. & J. Swords, H. Caritat, New York.
The interest in Charles Brockden Brown and his works arises largely from his ranking position among American Prose Writers. Hence, it is not expected that an estimate, somewhat extended and somewhat critical, of his writings is likely to become popular. No other than this, save very brief sketches of Brown and of what he has… Continue reading Notes On Charles Brockden Brown: A Study Of Early American Literature by Martin S. Vilas (1904)
After the mysterious voice's prediction is validated a new and rather bizarre character is introduced by the narrator, “I now come to the mention of a person with whose name the most turbulent sensations are connected. It is with a shuddering reluctance that I enter on the province of describing him. Now it is that… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 9)
In a critical consideration of Brown's narrative deployment of uncertainty let us consider two antagonists within American fiction: Hannibal Lector, from Thomas Harris' Hannibal Rising and Leonid Danilovich Arkadin from Eric Van Lustbader's The Bourne Objective. Both are intelligent, cunning and ruthless yet sympathetic characters with a predilection for ultra-violence. Hannibal is a young man… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 8)
Shortly after the transformation of the Wieland Sr.'s temple, we are introduced to the theme of voice and rhetoric, a theme which will form the backbone of many of Brown's subsequent social and philosophical critiques as well as a sizable portion of the novel's plot. This theme takes the form of Wieland, Jr.'s intensive interest… Continue reading THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN LITERARY TRADITION (PART 7)