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Titel: Wieland, or the Transformation
Autor/en: Charles Brockden Brown
Autor/en: Charles Brockden Brown
November 1997 - kartoniert - 234 Seiten
Theodore Wieland hears mysterious voices. Are these the result of delusions, ventriloquism, or divine forces? In this Gothic thriller, novelist Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810) portrays a man beset by religious guilt which erupts into mania, making him an extreme danger to others. Brown's fascination with the scientifically bizarre and the macabre was a great influence on Hawthorne and Poe.
CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN was born in Philadelphia, on January 17, 1771, into an old Quaker family. The youngest of four sons, Brown was sickly as a child and would remain in fragile health throughout his life. Yet despite his physical weakness, he showed a great aptitude for study. He acquired a broad classical education at the Friends' Grammar School in Philadelphia, and at the age of sixteen was apprenticed to Alexander Wilcox to study law. But Brown showed a keener interest in writing; while still in his teens he was contributing essays to the Columbian Magazine.
In 1793 Brown decided to abandon the law for literature. That year he went to New York and became a member of the Friendly Society, where he was imbued with English philosopher and freethinker William Godwin's ideas of the corruption of society and of the perfectibility of humankind.
Once again in Philadelphia, Brown published his first book, Alcuin: A Dialogue on the Rights of Women (1798), a plea for women's suffrage far in advance of its time. The same year he published his first novel, Wieland, or The Transformation, a first-person Gothic-style tale concerned with religious fanaticism, ventriloquism, and spontaneous combustion. Soon afterward, he returned to New York to assume editorship of the Monthly Magazine and American Review (1798- 1800). In addition to his work on the magazine, Brown published five more novels in rapid succession: Ormond (1799), Edgar Huntly (1799), Arthur Mervyn (1799-1800), Jane Talbot (1801), and Clara Howard (1801).
Brown returned once more to Philadelphia, where he lived for the rest of his life. He served as editor of the Literary Magazine and American Register (1803-1807) and of the American Register or General Repository (1807-1809). Brown wrote tirelessly, producing a series of political pamphlets and other articles for various magazines. In 1804 he married Elizabeth Linn of New York City. To support his new wife, Brown entered the family's mercantile business. Brown's incessant literary labors took a serious toll on his already poor health. In 1809 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, of which he died on February 22 of the following year, in Philadelphia, at the age of thirty-nine.
Brown's novels, reflecting his Quaker background and also the ideas of William Godwin and the French Encyclopedists, dealt with solutions to moral or philosophical problems. But they were more notable for their fascination with complex states of consciousness and the scientifically bizarre. In this Brown influenced the psychological novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry James.
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