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Gothic Logic: Charles Brockden Brown and the Science of Sensationalism

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This essay argues that in his particular brand of transatlantic Gothicism, Charles Brockden Brown (17711810) grafts an earlier, European branch of the Gothic narrative of the incredible and the supernatural on to the New World/New England strand of the apparition tale, producing in effect a vernacular American Gothic narrative of the empirical beyond in which printing and the discourse of science helped create bizarre and detailed tales reflecting the contemporaneous cultural forces of growing skepticism and materialism.
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Keywords: Charles Brockden Brown; Gothic; early American literature; empiricism; genre formation; supernatural

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: American Studies Programme University of Groningen.

Publication date: 01 July 2001

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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