Flashcards in Wieland Deck (87):
Who wrote Wieland?
Charles Brockden Brown
What radical philosopher was an influence on Brown?
What inspired Brown to write Wieland?
It was based on the true story of James Yates, who murdered his family in 1781 after hallucinating that two angels told him to do it.
What other writers from the Quals list were impressed with Wieland?
Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, John Keats, Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Wordsworth, Coleridge
What is Carwin's particular skill?
He is a "Biloquist," which is kind of like a super-ventriloquism, and you can perfectly imitate other people's voices.
When was Wieland published?
What form does the novel take?
It is epistolary.
Who writes the letters that frame the novel?
Who are the main characters in the novel?
- Clara Wieland
- Theodore Wieland
- Francis Carwin
- Catherine Pleyel
- Henry Pleyel
What is the full title of "Wieland"?
"Wieland - or, The Transformation"
What is Brown's claim to literary fame?
He is often called "the first" professional American author; he is certainly one of the earliest.
During what period of time did Brown publish his best-known novels? How many of them were there?
Of what movement is Wieland considered a founding text?
During what time period does the novel take place?
In the time before the American Revolution
What happens to Clara and Theodore's father?
He dies from spontaneous combustion. After the initial spectacle, he lingers for a bit in fever and sickness before dying.
What is Brown's religious background?
What is "Alcuin: A Dialogue"? What inspired Brown to write it?
It is America's first book-length text on women's rights. Brown was inspired to write it after reading Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman."
What writer, closely connected with Godwin, was another major influence on Brown?
What is the name of Brown's book-length work on women's rights?
Alcuin: A Dialogue
What could be one reason Brown failed to reach a wide audience for his novels in America?
At the time, America was pretty down on the Arts when compared to Europe. Novel reading was believe to be a waste of time at best, and immoral at worst.
Though Brown believed novels had a great deal to teach the nation's leader, the powerful men in charge at the time were not reading novels.
What were some social changes in Brown's time that made writing professionally more feasible?
- Increasing literacy in England and America
- Cheaper production costs
- Lower book costs
Brown was part of a movement away from poetry as the dominant artistic form in America.
What might we label Brown's novels (in the context of literary history)?
The first American novels of ideas
What are the two major sets of components that inform Wieland?
- Gothic elements (murder, insanity, sexual aggression, supernatural events)
- Social interests (social, political, and philosophical questions)
What two conflicting philosophies does Brown explore in Wieland?
- Christian theology (miracles, Providence, etc)
- Enlightenment (reason, order, science)
Brown's task as a novelist of ideas was to create a narrative situation for exposing the flaws of both.
In what way are Clara and Theodore a shift from their father? What space symbolically stands for this shift in the novel?
He was fervently religious; they are much more rational.
Their father's temple, which for him was a place of worship, and for his children is a retreat which celebrates the arts and learning.
What is the basis of Carwin's power? What particular relevance might this have to American culture?
America had "written itself into existence" through the Constitution and the Declaration; their allegiance was not to individuals, but to words.
What are the Wieland family origins?
Clara and Theodore's father was the son of a merchant's daughter and a disowned European aristocrat who grew up an orphan. His hard life made him turn to devout Protestantism.
Because of his religion, he moved to America, where he tried to convert some Indians before becoming a wealthy farmer/landowner. His strong religious tendencies returned when he grew older.
What was unique about the elder Wieland's religious beliefs?
He didn't align with any particular sect or creed. He was very devout, but it was a very personal kind of faith.
Describe the relationship between Clara, Catherine, Theodore, and Henry.
Clara and Catherine were best of childhood friends, and the trio formed a very close friendship growing up. Henry, Catherine's brother, only enters the group late, and rather disrupts the unit that had previously existed.
What is the religion of the younger Wielands like?
It is not fervent and structured like others. They have faith, but they don't seek to define it or wonder how they can prove it.
What is the relationship between Henry and Theodore like?
They have similar interests, but very different intellectual approaches to them. Though friends, they are constantly testing and questioning each other's opinions.
Henry is the ultimate advocate of liberal arts/intellectual freedom, perhaps so much so that he rather pushes Wieland in the other direction.
Who is a favorite writer of Theodore? What does he spend his time doing?
Cicero; Editing/restoring Latin texts.
What is the name of the young girl who is adopted into the Wieland house? What is her story?
Miss Louisa Conway.
She was believed to be an orphan, but an English officer early in the novel appears and claims this is his daughter.
What are some notable incidences of Carwin using his ability?
1. Wieland believes that Catherine is calling him from the bottom of the Hill as he heads towards the Temple to retrieve a letter.
2. Wieland and Pleyel hear Catherine's voice saying "No" in response to the idea of moving to Europe.
3. Wieland and Pleyel hear a mysterious voice claiming Theresa is dead.
4. Clara believes she hears thieves/murderers hiding in her closet. Her brother hears a voice saying someone is dying at his door.
5. A voice wakes Clara from her nap by the river/summer-house and tells her he repents for trying to murder her.
6. Henry thinks he hears confessions and sounds of a liaison between Clara and Carwin.
Where has Carwin traveled extensively before coming to America?
What causes a disagreement betwen Pleyel and Wieland?
Pleyel has discovered that it might be possible to repossess some of Wieland's ancestral holdings in Europe - he wants to return there and try to take up the life of an aristocrat. He also has a lover there he'd like to take back up with.
Wieland wants to remain in America, and believes it is the best and most profitable place to be.
With whom is Henry in love?
Theresa, The Baroness de Stolberg
What is the name of Louisa Conway's father?
What is the name of Clara and Theodore's uncle?
What is the name of Clara's servant?
How does Carwin gain access to Clara's home?
He begins an affair with Judith, who grants him access to Clara's house and rooms. He uses a ladder to get into Clara's closet window.
What feature of Carwin's does Clara immediately notice?
How does the novel question the Enlightenment ideals of trusting your senses above simply having faith in things you've never seen?
Carwin's ability to perfectly mimic voices throws sensory observations into doubt. When characters trust what they think they hear, they are led astray.
With what Protestant sect was the Wielands' father obsessed?
When do we learn who is narrating the novel?
What political event occurs in the early part of the novel that contributes to the feeling of upheaval and unrest?
The French and Indian War
What are some characteristics of the Gothic?
- Supernatural elements
- Sexual Threat/Depravity
What are the changes Carwin undergoes in Spain referred to as?
Who knew Carwin already? Where from?
Pleyel; He met him in Spain.
What joke of Pleyel's particularly bothers Clara?
That she is in love with Carwin. The stated reason it bothers her is because she is truly in love with Pleyel, but another reading is that it bothers her because of her strange attraction to Carwin, which discomfits her.
What is Carwin's reaction when Clara tells him about the strange voices she's been hearing, which she believes have an unearthly origin?
He asserts that he is certain there is a rational cause, and talks about various forms of mimicry he's encountered.
What are two "transformations" in the novel?
- Carwin's adoption of a Spanish identity
- The Wielands' switch from rationality into madness
What feature of Carwin's is most striking to Clara when she encounters him for the first time?
What action does Clara take to calm her fears after hearing the voices in her closet?
Pleyel comes to live in her spare room.
How does Clara discover the cause of the mysterious voices?
Hearing a strange voice from her closet a second time, she commands the speaker to emerge in a moment of bravery. Carwin steps out.
Who does Clara assume is in her closet when she hears a voice inside for the second time?
What is the name of the Wieland's friend who lives in Philadelphia?
What does Clara say of Pleyel after she has heard his charges against her?
"He has judged me without hearing."
In fact, he has judged her with a very particular kind of hearing.
Why does Wieland believe Clara when she says that she is still chaste?
In conjunction with her assertions, he would only trust "his own hearing and vision" (foreshadowing).
What newspaper report does Pleyel read on the day he was supposed to appear and read the play?
That Carwin is wanted for escaping a prison in Dublin, where he was sent for murder and theft.
What is the name of the Wieland estate?
What does Clara find in her bed after returning from hearing Pleyel's accusation against her?
What is a particularly interesting moment of gender confusion in the text?
When Clara is describing her emotional state after finding Catharine dead, she uses the metaphor of a sailor at sea using all masculine pronouns.
Who does Clara initially believe killed Catharine, the four children, and Louisa?
Why does Wieland claim he committed the murders?
He prayed to God for guidance, and was told he must sacrifice his wife as a test of faith. After he killed her, he was visited again and told to kill the children and Louisa.
After his conviction, what is Wieland's sentence?
Imprisonment due to insanity
What does Clara's uncle want them to do after Wieland's trial has concluded?
Leave America and reside in Europe.
What does Clara resolve that she must fetch from Mittingen before departing for Europe?
Her diary, with her most secret thoughts.
Why does Carwin trick Pleyel?
By his account, almost by impulse, but its clear that he is drawn to her and is likely jealous of Clara and Pleyel's relationship.
After Carwin confesses to Clara, who appears?
How does Carwin account for his time in Europe?
That he was led astray by a person of unsavory character. Once he realized how effective his powers could be, he felt guilt over what they had been used for and fled for America.
What happens when Wieland comes to kill Clara during her meeting with Carwin?
Clara demands Carwin tell Wieland the truth, which he does. Wieland, untroubled, tells Carwin to leave, and he does.
What does Wieland initially believe of Carwin's confession?
That he is a demon.
What is the weapon Clara has to use against her brother?
A penknife (hint hint)
When Carwin uses his talent to intervene at the last moment before Clara is about to stab her brother, what does he command Wieland to do?
"Hold...ascend into rational and human!"
What effect does Carwin's last command have upon Wieland?
It seems to work - he snaps out of his fervor and ceases struggling with Clara. Presumably realizing what he has done, he grabs Clara's knife and kills himself.
What is a particular point of suspicion in Clara's narrative?
That Carwin leaves a note for her at Mrs. Baynton's house (the one asking her to meet that night at 11; when she goes to the meeting she finds Catharine's body).
There is no reason Carwin would have known she would go there unless she told him herself.
Why doesn't Clara live out the remainder of her days in her house, as she resolved?
It burns down
How does Theresa die?
In childbirth a year and a half after she marries Pleyel.
What happens to Major Stuart?
After he discovers Louisa's death, he reunites with Pleyel and Clara abroad and tells them what he's learned about his wife's mysterious disappearance all those years ago.
What is the name of the man Major Stuart's wife was having an emotional affair with?
Why did Major Stuart's wife flee to America?
She learned of Maxwell's bad character and was no longer in love with her husband.
From whom did Major Stuart learn the fate of his wife?
What happens to Major Stuart?
He is stabbed and killed by an unknown person (but believed to be associated with Maxwell).
Stuart had challenged Maxwell to a duel, that had been set to take place the following day.
What happens when Clara wants to view Louisa's body after her death?
Her face was completely destroyed in the murder.
What are two unresolved threads in Wieland?
1. The story of the murder Carwin is never explained as either happening or not.
2. Louisa's storyline is all very strange. Why was Wieland's murder of her so particularly brutal? Why does this story take up almost all of the final chapter? She seems a tangent from the narrative as a whole.