The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 26
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ENGLISH GOTHICISM II BROW'S NOVELS
The only genuine Gothic no?©list in America was Charles
Brockden Brown, working under English influences* His morbid
temperament,' the result of ill health, made him ©specially
susceptible to the spell of the Gothic romance in England,
Caleb Williams. The Monte> The Mysteries of Udolpho. and The
Oastle of Otranto, all coming within a few year®, made a
powerful impression on him, Their extravagant melodrama and
pseudo mystery, their terrible ©rimes, dismal oorridora,
malignant spirits, and haunted eastles inevitably stimulated
his imagination. He set himself to the task of creating a
Gothio novel that would "put America on the literary map with
a vengeance, and in W1eland very nearly succeeded,
The English romanoe which affected him most was Caleb
Williams, the work of William Godwin, After Wleland appeared,
Brown modestly wrote:
When a mental comparison is mad® between this
and the mass of novels, 1 am inclined to be pleased
with my own production. But when the objects of
comparison are changed, and I revolve the transcendent
merits of Caleb Williams. my pleasure is diminished,
and is preserved from a total extinction only by the
reflection that this performance is first,*
^George Snell, The Shapors of American Fiction, p, 37.
2Ibld.. p. 37.
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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/m1/29/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .