Abstract

Carwin, the ventriloquist anti-hero at the center of Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland, employs his own voice like a catalyst, as his duplicitous tricks expose the unconscious determinants of the Wielands' behavior. Critics have read Carwin and his biloquism as figures for novelist, novel writing, and finally, imaginative pursuits in general. I argue that Carwin's destructive "play" is at least partially valorized in the narrative, and in this way echoes the usefully destabilizing work of imaginative production that I would identify with an interested and insurgent model of aesthetics. This "interested" aesthetic draws on the utopian elements found in both the eighteenth-century tradition of sensibility and the new Kantian aesthetic, moving beyond the legitimating function of these various aesthetic ideologies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-315X
Print ISSN
0013-2586
Pages
pp. 255-271
Launched on MUSE
2009-01-23
Open Access
No
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