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Wieland; or the Transformation and Memoirs of Carwin, The Biloquist (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – April 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199538778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538775
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #428,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Emory Elliot is Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside - and the author of numerous publications on the Colonial American period and on Puritan Literature.

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Customer Reviews

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Hendrix on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
First, let me say that this is not the type of thing I tend to read. I've read reviews of this book by people who were assigned this text for a class -- and they hated or did not finish it because it's written in a somewhat old and advanced type of prose. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it once I kept reading and got into it.

As a work of horror fiction, it does have some genuinely creepy moments here and there, and plenty of suspense, but to me at least, it satisfies much more as a kind of "cozy" rural mystery. There's also some romance thrown in toward the middle. "Wieland" does grab you eventually, and it has a thick atmosphere of Gothic doom over the characters, but from a source that stays well-hidden until the end.

I have to agree with the prime criticisms thrown at this book; that the explanations given for the events were essentially too far flung, too amazing to be believed. I would also say that more of a tie should have been made between the prelude about the father and the later events that happen to his son and daughter. I would recommend this book only to those who are truly committed to reading older Gothic tales, or what some consider "America's earliest novel."
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michel Aaij on December 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having to rate a book like this is no easy task. I give it four stars as a sort of average. The edition itself, with a solid introduction by Emory Eliot, is very good. The novel, like all of Brown's works, is a somewhat unsatisfying effort.
That said, let me add quickly that this novel is a must-read, without a doubt. This truly Gothic tale will keep you in suspence from start to finish--and guess what, Brown even claims a historical precedent for the narrator's brother slaughtering his wife and children. This is Real TV!
It is not a great novel (although superior to, for instance, "Edgar Huntly" and "Stephen Calvert") but it is a fascinating one. Brown was quick to jump on the bandwagon of female fiction that proved to be the bestseller in 19th century America, and this semi-epistolary tale by a female narrator is fascinating if only for the problems its form poses. For instance, its epistolary character, meant to create a sense of urgency and directness, never convinces due to its pretentious literate (read, latinate) diction and syntax. Moreover, Brown's choice of a female narrator--a man writing like a woman writing like a man--, while marketable in 1798, shows that he always bites off much more than he can chew. A much better (and earlier, 1797!) example of a female epistolary novel is Hannah W. Foster's "The Coquette," available in a wonderful edition also by the Oxford UP.
Unlike what some would have you believe, Brown is not the earliest American novelist. It is interesting to note that some of his fans claim Brown instead of Cooper, completely forgetting the books put out by female authors and read mainly by women.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By gammyraye on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
Back in the olden days when I was in high school and college, I am pretty sure we were taught that James Fenimore Cooper was the first American novelist. Now a younger and more well educated friend tells me that Brown is considered America's first professional novelist. Internet research tells me that there were indeed novelists previous to Brown, but they were all women, so I guess they don't count. (Being snarky; actually the ladies were evidently not very proficient at the craft.) At any rate, Brown was indisputably America's first Gothic writer, following an English/European trend of the time.

Written in 1798, Wieland is a most intriguing and passionate account of strange and deadly events in the family of Clara, an intelligent and perceptive young lady who is telling the story in a letter to a friend. As a participant in the tragedy, she would automatically be suspected of being an unreliable narrator. She even says, "What but ambiguities, abruptnesses, and dark transitions, can be expected from the historian who is, at the same time, the sufferer of these disasters?" Included in her "letter" are two even more suspect accounts, being told second hand, explanatory of the mysterious happenings. We are purposefully left a bit unsure about whether events are explainable, of supernatural origin, or a product of a diseased mind---or a combination of all three.

Included in the catalog of bizarre happenings: a spontaneous combustion, apparently disembodied voices heard by several participants, and the murder of his entire family by a father. Ventriloquism and a suggestion of mesmerism also figure into the inventive plot.
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By CollegeGirl2015 on September 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was new when I got it. It's proving to be an interesting read, and I like that it's in great condition.
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