Yea you know me.
Well that was fun. ANYWAY…
I present my second adventure with Charles Brockden Brown, a highly underrated early American author. If you like classics and you see his works in a bookstore, grab them. The first of his novels that I read was Edgar Huntly, or Memoirs of a Sleepwalker; it’s one of my favorite novels and one of the novels I wrote my thesis about.
This book is a two for one, sort of. My edition of Wieland also contains Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist, but the second is a kind of prelude or maybe spin-off to the first.
I loved Wieland. It was completely different from Edgar Huntly in that it is a purely psychological novel and has almost no geographical description. The novel is written in first person, and it contains outbursts of emotion as the narrator relives her memories. The writing and chapter divisions pull you through and compel you to see what happens next. There are awesome twists to keep you on your toes and plenty of supernatural (or is it?) juju to creep you out. Brown perfectly blends the science of the day into his writing to create rich and engaging stories. I don’t have any complaints about Wieland.
I was not so overly thrilled with Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist, however. Carwin was a more compelling character in Wieland. There are no divisions in this part, and the writing is a bit rambly. Nothing really compelled me to finish reading it, and I gave up with only about 30 pages left (I’ve always plowed through if I had so little left). I enjoyed the explanation of how Carwin became a biloquist, but that could have fit easily into Wieland. This part read like an unfinished fragment. It was interesting, but not particularly amazing.
All in all, I’m very pleased with this book and was thrilled to find it at my favorite used bookstore.