The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 37
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AMERICAN GOTHICISM II BROWN*3 NOVELS
That a genuine task challenged the American imagination
before any considerable body of fiction could be achieved is
a fact which Charles Brockden Brown faced when he gave up
Journalism for the novel. As previously shown in this study,
Brown had little to challenge him in American writings. He
had to face the problem of reaching people who still believed
that fiction belonged to the Old World, fact to the newj
people who looked back with admiration and nostalgia on the
soil lofcere they had lived. In America, though prose fiction
was the popular for®, the narratives were all romantic repeti-
tions of the English novels. It is not surprising that
Brown, the first native professional novelist in the United
States, should have hesitated before devoting himself to the
sphere in which lay his real strength. Since novels were
still frowned upon by a large part of the respectable people
of the time, the profession of novelist in America simply did
not exist, and Brown's first claim to what fame and popularity
he achieved rests upon his founding of that profession.
He was a great reader, and matured rapidly
from an intellectual point of view. Those who are
disconcerted at the precocity of his heroes forget
that Brown saw nothing improbable in the language
of Arthur Mervyn, for at the age of ten, he probably
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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/m1/40/: accessed February 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .