christopher stampone Southern Methodist University A "Spirit of Mistaken Benevolence" Civilizing the Savage in Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly The eponymous character of Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly; or, Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1799) approaches the tree at which his friend Waldegrave died only to realize someone else is there, digging: "Something like flannel was wrapt round his waist and covered his lower limbs. The rest of his frame was naked. . . . A figure, robust and strange, and half naked, to be thus employed, at this hour and place, was calculated to rouse up my whole soul. His occupation was mysterious and obscure" (10). The "mysterious" figure is the sleepwalking Clithero Edny, a recent "emigrant from Ireland" and the "only foreigner" in Huntly's neighborhood (14). Scholars have long sought to explain Clithero's function in the text and, until the publication of Jared Gardner's "Alien Nation," they most often viewed Clithero as a gothic double in Edgar's bildungsroman.1 Gardner's essay challenges prior scholarship, arguing that Brown's novel "has less to do with questions of what it means to be civilized than . . . what it means to be American" (Master Plots 53). For Gardner, the Irish
Early American Literature – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jun 21, 2015
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