The Gothic Element in the Novels of Charles Brockden Brown Page: 39
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pari upon an actual occurrence. A farmer in lew York want
suddenly crazy under the influence of two angels whom ft© saw
la a bright light and who urged hi® to destroy Ms idol®. He
killed Ms horsea, Ms wife and his children, and visiting
his sister apparently to kill her, he waa captured and confined
as a lunatic.3 of course the incident ia subordinate to
portrayal of the soul of Wleland*
His concern with native material ia illustrated moat
definitely by hia picture of the yellow fever in Arthur Mervyn.
Fever is not uaed merely as a background; it makes the,sudden
disappearance and reappearance of the characters probable#
Naturally that atmosphere of confusion, in which anything may
happen, suited admirably the peculiar gifts of Brown# A
brooding sense of terror hangs over the city, but the romantic
material and idealised characters are held in cheek by the
realistic description of the plague. The descriptions of the
hospital bring the novel down to earth. Brown had escaped
yellow fever la Philadelphia in 1793, but he had the dlaeaae
in 1?9§ ia Hew York; he simply transferred the experience to
his native city for hi® novel. He was exposed to the infection
through the generous action of hl& friend, Sllhu H. smith, the
physician and playwright, who took an Italian, Br, Scandella,
into hia house when Brown was visiting him. Brown uaed the
incident® of Scandella*a death in Arthur Merv^nA
3qulnn, oj>. clt., p. 27. ^Ibld., p. 30.
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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/m1/42/: accessed February 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .