City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810)
Charles Brockden Brown (January 17, 1771 – February 22, 1810), an American novelist, historian, and editor of the Early National period, is generally regarded by scholars as the most important American novelist before James Fenimore Cooper. He is the most frequently studied and republished practitioner of the "early American novel," or the US novel between 1789 and roughly 1820. Although Brown was not the first American novelist, as some early criticism claimed, the breadth and complexity of his achievement as a writer in multiple genres (novels, short stories, essays and periodical writings of every sort, poetry, historiography, reviews) makes him a crucial figure in US literature and culture of the 1790s and first decade of the 19th century, and a significant public intellectual in the wider Atlantic print culture and public sphere of the era of the French Revolution.