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Arthur Mervyn

Charles Brockden Brown

Book Overview: 

Arthur Mervyn is the story of a young man from the country who arrives in a city stricken with Yellow Fever. He soon comes down with the illness and is rescued by a kindly doctor. Arthur tells the doctor and his wife the story of his life, thereby gaining the doctor’s confidence and good will. However, others familiar with Arthur tell another tale, and the doctor’s as well as the reader’s confidence in Arthur is shaken. Brown, who himself contracted Yellow Fever during an outbreak in New York City, vividly describes the horrors of the disease and its effects on an early American city.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .By you it will be thought strange, but it is nevertheless true, that I derived from this new prospect not only tranquillity but cheerfulness. I hastened home. As soon as I entered, my landlord informed me that a person had been searching for me in my absence. This was an unexampled incident, and foreboded me no good. I was strongly persuaded that my visitant had been led hither not by friendly but hostile purposes. This persuasion was confirmed by the description of the stranger's guise and demeanour given by my landlord. My fears instantly recognised the image of Watson, the man by whom I had been so eminently benefited, and whose kindness I had compensated by the ruin of his sister and the confusion of his family.

"An interview with this man was less to be endured than to look upon the face of an avenging deity. I was determined to avoid this interview, and, for this end, to execute my fatal purpose within the hour. My papers were collected with a tremulous han. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Set in 1790's Philadelphia and Baltimore and written in an antique, stately and flowery style, this novel surprised me by being readable, interesting and even touching. Was the Great American Novel already written before the 19th century ever turned?

Whether you believe him or not, Arthur Mervyn is interesting, though circuitous journey. Heavy CBB.

I'm a big fan of Charles Brockden Brown even if his books can sometimes be a tough slog (must-read-twice curlicues of sentences, total implausibility on every level [by today's standards, anyway], etc.). I really enjoy reading all the crazy/horrible/salacious combinations of infanticide/rape/religio

The story is told in a beautiful prose while unfolding from the perspectives of several narrators which by creating a network, make it very catchy... but then it starts off with a number of themes -trade networks in the Caribbean, emergence of a new bourgeoisie, malignance of the mercantile class -

Little hard to get all the way through, but overall good novel (considering the period) :-)

2019-02 – Arthur Mervyn Or, Memoirs of the Year 1793 Charles Brockden Brown (Author) 1799. 374 Pages.

This book is on the curriculum for The Rosenbach Library and Museum’s “Philadelphia Gothic” series. I had read one of the books from the list last year (The Quaker City: or The Monks of Monk Hall) a

A young man leaves home to make his fortune during an epidemic of 1793, only to discover that humanity is less than noble.

Hm...a difficult one to review. The beginning was slow drudgery. I put the book down for a while, then picked it up again to give it another chance. Things picked up when we star

After his father's remarriage, young and naive Arthur Mervyn is forced to leave his father's farm and make his own living in the city (Philadelphia). Once there, he runs into alot of bad luck, mainly having to do with the con man Thomas Welbeck. Mervyn, with the help of some good people he meets in

Interpolations within interpolations within interpolations. And strains of proto-feminism in early America. Beware of spoilers and unnecessary interpretive work in numerous notes. A great critical edition, but it goes too far in both these regards.

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