• "Light might possibly be requisite": Edgar Huntly, Regional History, and Historicist Criticism

    Author(s):
    Andrew Newman (see profile)
    Date:
    2010
    Group(s):
    American Literature
    Subject(s):
    American literature, Colonialism
    Item Type:
    Article
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6JR5K
    Abstract:
    Charles Brockden Brown’s celebrated novel Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799), set in the Forks of the Delaware region of Pennsylvania, has been related to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on the basis of a mistaken understanding that its action takes place during the summer of 1787. The correct date is 1785. The narrative’s connections to the local history of Indian relations, however, are systematic and profound. Its villain, the Indian crone ‘‘Old Deb,’’ is modeled after an elderly Delaware woman from Chester County, Hannah Freeman. Edgar himself is modeled in part after Edward Marshall, who walked off the measurement for the 1737 Walking Purchase land fraud. Moreover, a pivotal scene between Edgar and the traveler Weymouth is a symbolic reenactment of the midcentury treaty meetings at which the Delaware spokesman Teedyuscung sought restitution for the Walking Purchase. These claims provide an occasion to reflect on the methods of historicist criticism: how connections to history illuminate a literary work.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name:pdf project_muse_377691.pdf
     Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 265