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Originally published in 1994. The Romance of Real Life aims to reconstruct historically the life and writings of Charles Brockden Brown in terms of their cultural connection. Watts examines in detail Brown's early and later writings. By looking at these often-neglected works more closely, he offers a new perspective on the well-known novels from the late 1790s. Watts's synthetic look at genre as well as chronology reveals broader connections between Brown's literature and American society and culture in the decades of the early republic. Furthermore, Watts situates Brown's writings in terms of the interplay of text, context, and the self, with each factor recognized as mutually shaping the others. The Romance of Real Life incorporates sensitivity to the "social history of ideas," in which both the form and content of language remain rooted in the material experience of real life.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. New Copyright
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  1. Half Title
  2. p. i
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  1. Frontispiece
  2. p. ii
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. iv
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  1. Dedication
  2. p. v
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  1. Epigraph
  2. p. vii
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  1. Contents
  2. p. ix
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. xi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xiii-xviii
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  1. Half Title 1
  2. p. xix
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  1. 1. The Novel and the Market in the Early Republic
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. 2. The Lawyer and the Rhapsodist
  2. pp. 27-48
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  1. 3. The Young Artist as Social Visionary
  2. pp. 49-70
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  1. 4. The Major Novels (I): Fiction and Fragmentation
  2. pp. 71-100
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  1. 5. The Major Novels (II): Deception and Disintegration
  2. pp. 101-130
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  1. 6. The Writer as Bourgeois Moralist
  2. pp. 131-163
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  1. 7. The Writer and the Liberal Ego
  2. pp. 164-200
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 201-223
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  1. Bibliographic Essay
  2. pp. 225-241
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 243-246
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