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

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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 described as a manifesto for a new national literature (Murison 243); more

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Citation: Emmett, Hilary. "Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 October 2015 [, accessed 15 April 2024.]

5441 Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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