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Literature >> 19th Century
the first American novelist to win an international reputation
Charles Brockden Brown was born of Quaker parents in Philadelphia on January 17, 1771. A sickly child, he devoted himself to study instead of physical activities. One of his principal "amusements" was the invention of ideal architectural designs, which eventually grew into a talent for designing Utopian-type communities. This talent would in turn lead to his authoring a series of novels distinguished by the ingenuity and consistent evolution of the plot.
After a short legal career, Brown decided in 1793 to become a writer, an occupation that was then considered a hobby or a pasttime. Many of Brown's stories were similar to the Gothic horror novels that were then popular in England. The novels had American settings and usually pitted an innocent youth against a villain. He wrote his best-known novels while living in New York, from 1798 to 1801. Despite his international popularity, however, Brown was unable to support himself as a novelist and returned to Philadelphia in 1801, where he made his living as a magazine editor and merchant until his death. He died of consumption (tuberculosis) on February 22, 1810.
The Works of Charles Brockden Brown
Carsol -- a romance depicting
an imaginary community
This page was last updated on 01/10/2017.