Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist (Penguin Classics)
Charles Brockden Brown
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A terrifying account of the fallibility of the human mind and, by extension, of democracy itself, Wieland brilliantly reflects the psychological, social, and political concerns of the early American republic. In the fragmentary sequel,Memoirs, Brown explores Carwin’s bizarre history as a manipulated disciple of the charismatic utopian Ludloe.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
with religious scrupulousness. Thus men might be imperiously directed in the disposal of their industry, their proporty, and even of their lives. Men, actuated by a mistaken sense of duty, might, under this influence, be led to the commission of the most flagitious, as well as the most heroic acts: If it were his desire to accumulate wealth, or institute a new sect, he should need no other instrument. I listened to this kind of discourse with great avidity, and regretted when he thought proper
that the value of sincerity, like that of every other mode of action, consisted in its tendency to good, and that, therefore the obligation to speak truth was not paramount or intrinsical: that my duty is modelled on a knowledge and foresight of the conduct of others; and that, since men in their actual state, are infirm and deceitful, a just estimate of consequences may sometimes make dissimulation my duty were truths that did not speedily occur. The discovery, when made, appeared to be a joint
length, and tended forward. You were probably at rest. How should I communicate without alarming you, the intelligence of my arrival? An immediate interview was to be procured. I could not bear to think that a minute should be lost by remissness or hesitation. Should I knock at the door? or should I stand under your chamber windows, which I perceived to be open, and awaken you by my calls? “These reflections employed me, as I passed opposite to the summer-house. I had scarcely gone by, when my
penetrating that ever dignified the human form, my sensations were fraught with new and insupportable anguish. I had not time to reflect in what way my own safety would be effected by this revolution, or what I had to dread from the wild conceptions of a madman. He advanced towards me. Some hollow noises were wafted by the breeze. Confused clamours were succeeded by many feet traversing the grass, and then crowding into the piazza. These sounds suspended my brother’s purpose, and he stood to
defer it till the task which I had set myself was finished. That being done, I resumed the resolution. The motives to incite me to this continually acquired force. The more I revolved the events happening at Mettingen, the more insupportable and ominous my terrors became. My waking hours and my sleep were vexed by dismal presages and frightful intimations. “Catharine was dead by violence. Surely my malignant stars had not made me the cause of her death; yet had I not rashly set in motion a