The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 20
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Suoh was tli© tenor of Amerioan fiction whan Brown began
to write# from his contemporaries to© drew but little in
either matter or manner. They had, however, broken down the
puritan opposition to novel-reading and prepared the soil
for sturdier growth.
Didacticism and sentimentality characterised the British
novel in the period immediately preceding the vogue of the
Gothic romance. Naturally the same moods and purposes appear
in the first Aaerioan novels, most of which, like their
British models, were the work of women.
These early novelists, despite their common aim, represent
no concerted movement. According to then, the function of the
novel was almost wholly utilitarian* They did not discover
the new type of novel or pattern a characteristic type, but
looked for their models in the very British fiction whose
influence they sought to destroy* It was unfortunate that the
methods they copied were from sueh an uninspired and uninspiring
Sven though their accomplishment was inconsiderable from
the point of view of literary merit, these early novels have
a certain Interest as documents in the history of taste.
Their authors, and presumably their readers, were of the
cultivated class, consciously seeking what it supposed to be
the best. Too, to introduce novel writing to America at all
was a very important achievement. Although the Q-othle novel
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Cannon, Willie Jim. The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown, thesis, 1950; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc130235/m1/23/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .