Wieland: or, The Transformation: An American Tale and Other Stories (Modern Library Classics)
Charles Brockden Brown
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Called a “remarkable story” by John Greenleaf Whittier and described by John Keats as “very powerful,” Wieland, Charles Brockden Brown’s disturbing 1798 tale of terror, is a masterpiece involving spontaneous combustion, disembodied voices, religious mania, and a gruesome murder based on a real-life incident.
This Modern Library Paperback Classic includes Wieland’s fragmentary sequel, Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist, as well as several other important but hard-to-find Brockden Brown short stories, including “Thessalonica,” “Walstein’s School of History,” and “Death of Cicero.” This collection also reproduces the newspaper account of the murder that inspired Wieland.
her country, and the measures she had taken to effect her design, were related to Mrs. Maxwell, in reply to her communication. Between these women an ancient intimacy and considerable similitude of character subsisted. This disclosure was accompanied with solemn injunctions of secrecy, and these injunctions were, for a long time, faithfully observed. Mrs. Maxwell’s abode was situated on the banks of the Wey. Stuart was her kinsman; their youth had been spent together; and Maxwell was in some
the proscription to Sicily, which he was occupying. 17. Fulvia. Mark Antony’s wife and political ally. 18. Popilius Lænas. Plutarch identifies the assassin as “Popillius, a tribune, whom Cicero had formerly defended when prosecuted for the murder of his father.” Seneca the Elder, however, maintains that although Cicero may have defended Popillius, the charge against him was not parricide (Controversia, 7.2.8). In The History of Rome, from the Foundation of the City of Rome, to the Destruction
article appeared in the New-York Weekly Magazine, 2.55 (July 20, 1796), p. 20 and 2.56 (July 27, 1796), p. 28, where the murderer was identified by his initials only. His full name appears in a letter written by the novelist Ann Eliza Bleecker. Cf. James C. Hendrickson, “A Note on Wieland,” American Literature 8 (November 1936): 305–6. 1. Tomhanick. today known as Tomhannock. 2. Mrs. Bl——r. probably Mrs. Bleecker; see headnote. 3. Aqua Fortis. nitric acid. THE MODERN LIBRARY EDITORIAL BOARD
accomplishing our wishes. Questions might have been put in such terms, that no room should be left for the pretence of misapprehension, and if modesty merely had been the obstacle, such questions would not have been wanting; but we considered, that, if the disclosure were productive of pain or disgrace, it was inhuman to extort it. Amidst the various topics that were discussed in his presence, allusions were, of course, made to the inexplicable events that had lately happened. At those times,
conscience; his behaviour at his trial and since, was faithfully reported to me; appearances were uniform; not for a moment did he lay aside the majesty of virtue; he repelled all invectives by appealing to the deity, and to the tenor of his past life; surely there was truth in this appeal: none but a command from heaven could have swayed his will; and nothing but unerring proof of divine approbation could sustain his mind in its present elevation. *Mania Mutabilis. See Darwin’s Zoonomia, vol.