Charles Brockden Brown (Charles Brockden Brown)

Charles Brockden Brown

Author. Charles Brockden Brown is regarded as America’s first professional author. Born in Philadelphia,  his ancestors were Quakers who came over from England on the same ship with William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. In 1797 he quit his law studies and moved to New York City,  where he hoped to make a living as a writer.  Brown’s first book is his most famous:  “Wieland” (1798), a tale about an evil ventriloquist who,  by impersonating a supernatural being,  persuades the hero to kill his wife and children.  Following in quick succession were the Gothic novels “Ormund” (1799),  “Arthur Mervyn” (two parts,  1799 and 1800),  “Jane Talbot” (1801),  “Edgar Huntley” (1801),  and “Clara Howard” (1801).  All were very popular and some were reprinted in England,  giving the author an international reputation. In those days publishers bought manuscripts outright without paying royalties,  and Brown made little money from his work.  Crestfallen and with a family to support,  he returned to Philadelphia in 1802 and became a merchant.  In his spare time he managed to edit and publish three short-lived literary magazines, but wrote no more novels. He died at age 39 of tuberculosis. Brown is considered the most important writer of American fiction before James Fenimore Cooper (“The Last of the Mohicans”).  He successfully transplanted the English tradition of the Gothic novel to the United States,  and showed a fascination with psychotic characters long before Edgar Allan Poe, who was influenced by him. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)  Family links:  Spouse:  Elizabeth Linn Brown (1775 – 1834)*  Children:  Charles Brockden Brown (1804 – 1871)* *Calculated relationship

Born

  • January, 17, 1771
  • USA
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Died

  • February, 02, 1810
  • USA
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Cause of Death

  • tuberculosis

Cemetery

  • Friends Arch Street Meeting House Burial Ground
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • USA

1984 profile views