Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another good grad school memory: Wieland and Memoirs of Carwin

For several months I've been too scattered to do much other than tweet, write the occasional blog post, and--oh yeah--do my day job. But now I'm thinking about resuming work on my third novel, while Novel the Second seeks a home. I was about 40 pages in, last time I touched it, and it's at least partly inspired by what scholars have called the first American novel: Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown.

The cool thing to realize about this novel, first published in 1798, is that it's about a ventriloquist who drives a man to murder his family by making him think God is speaking to him. Yep, the first American novel is a (sort of) paranormal/religious/serial-killer thriller, which reflects fears of democracy and the "voice of the people." It's great stuff, and the prospect of revisiting Wieland is exciting enough to get me back in the writing chair. Religious nuttiness + ventriloquism. What can go wrong?

I see my book-in-progress as a combination of this and Gogol's "The Overcoat," set in a comparative literature department--just by coincidence.

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