Charles Brockden Brown: Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker

(2521 words)

Edgar Huntly (1799) was the fourth of seven novels produced by Charles Brockden Brown in an extraordinary feat of literary productivity between 1798 and 1801. Set in the immediate past of 1787, the year of the ratification of the United States’ Constitution, the novel engages the myriad issues and divisions still facing the new Republic, from Old World class divisions and “Woldwinite” theories of social reform to frontier violence and the “Indian Question”. These issues are explored within a complex and at times fantastical narrative that Brown explicitly presents as the first work of an American “Gothic” tradition.

The novel’s oft-discussed opening address “To the Public” lays out what may be …

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Emmett, Hilary. "Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 October 2015
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Gothic, Grotesque & Supernatural Fiction