The first gothic novel in America, Wieland (1798) is now available in a Norton Critical Edition. Wieland, the story of religious delusion and horrific violence on the eve of the American Revolution, is a cornerstone of the Early American literary canon. A family living on an estate outside Philadelphia is visited by a set of mysterious voices, seemingly coming out of thin air, that are followed soon after by an itinerant rustic named Carwin. Violence erupts when the family's young patriarch believes he hears God's voice demanding a human sacrifice as a sign of faith. Testing the limits of religious and literary authority in the new United States, Brown's novel has for more than two centuries kept readers debating questions of agency, accountability, and revolutionary politics. The editor provides explanatory annotations throughout the volume.
This Norton Critical Edition also reprints Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist, Brown's fragmentary sequel to Wieland. A section of "Sources and Contexts" presents inspirations for Brown's work, including an account of the real-life Yates family murders, an excerpt from Christoph Martin Wieland's The Trial of Abraham, and religious and medical accounts of delusion, spontaneous combustion, and ventriloquism. Brown's outline for Wieland and his letter to Thomas Jefferson are also reprinted.
"Criticism" includes contemporary responses to Wieland from both the United States and the United Kingdom, along with fourteen essential modern critical approaches. Contributors include Shirley Samuels, Christopher Looby, Nancy Ruttenberg, Laura Korobkin, David Kazanjian, Bryan Waterman, and Stephen Shapiro, among others.
A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are also included. --Book Jacket.