Among the leading writers of the early republic, Charles Brockden Brown often appears as a romantic prototype--the brilliant, alienated author rejected by a utilitarian, materialistic American society. In The Romance of Real Life Steven Watts reinterprets Brown's life and work as a complex case study in the emerging culture of capitalism at the dawn of the nineteenth century.
Offering a revisionist view of Brown himself, Watts examines the major novels of the 1790s as well as previously neglected sources--from early essays and private letters to late-career forays into journalism, political pamphleteering, serial fiction, and cultural criticism.
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