The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 24
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long feo©& with its elaborate description of scenery, is one
of greatest naivete, and the tale viewed as the only product
of Ann Radcliffe*® influence, seems an inadequate representa-
tive of her school.
The question of the importance of the Gothic no?el in
early American fiction ultimately reduoes itself to the impor-
tance of Charles Brockden Brown# Inevitably, like all
contemporary American novelists, he sought his inspiration
In British literature. It is probable that the popular German
novels and dramas of horror were of some influence in
strengthening the hold which the tale of villainy and orin*
had obtained over his imagination. English novels, noticeably
Caleb Williams, furnished the actual incentive to hia tales
of crime* He differed from his contemporaries in that he
ohanged the ideas he borrowed and added muoh of his own material.
He seemed to realize that American readers were developing
a general desire for novels reflecting native manners. His
stories have as setting the real life of his time, but it is
only a setting. In Edgar Huntly. in which the American Indian
began his career in our fiction, he denoted a large part of
his book to wilderness life and Indian adventures, yet he still
put forward a mysterious crime as the motif* of his tale, and
thus persistently identified himself with the short-lived school
12Ibid.. p. 57.
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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/m1/27/: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .