NeMLA 2021: The Philadelphia Gothic and Charles Brockden Brown

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Lawrence Lorraine Mullen / University at Buffalo
contact email: 


From the latter half of the 18th century and through the 19th, Philadelphia found itself to be the birthplace of a variety of horrifying, grotesque, and terror-filled stories. Well-known writers including, most notably, Edgar Allan Poe, as well as George Lippard and Charles Brockden Brown, penned these tales of gothic happenings, arguably ushering in the American-spin on the traditional gothic genre. This panel aims to take particular care in considering Brown’s works. Brown’s expansive interests, from women’s liberation and proto-feminist appeals, to a fascination with a budding legal system and court documents, bled into all of his works—most notably his novels, WielandOrmondEdgar Huntly, and Arthur Mervyn, as well as his dialogue-driven pamphlet, Alcuin. Thinking through the relationships these novels have with the city of Philadelphia and its surrounding geographic region, as well as themes of religion, liberty and freedom, authority, gender, (dis)ability, and any other relevant element, this panel seeks to dedicate scholastic inquiry into one of the first American gothic writers. As NeMLA 2021 finds itself housed at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, it seems only appropriate to recognize the works of one of the city’s most noted gothic genre novelists. While Brown was writing, Philadelphia was still the nation’s capital, and the sensational violence and intensity that was occurring around him is evident in the gothic excess that pervades his novels.



Lawrence Lorraine Mullen (University at Buffalo)


NeMLA 2021 is taking place in Philadelphia, PA, March 11–14th


Submit abstracts online using NeMLA's online submission system, more information available here:


View this CFP on the NeMLA website here: