ARTHUR MERVYN; OR, MEMOIRS OF THE YEAR 1793. By the Author of Wieland; and Ormond, or the Secret Witness. Philadelphia: Printed and Published by H. Maxwell, No. 3, Laetitia Court and Sold by Messrs. T. Dobson, R. Campbell, H. and P. Rice, A. Dickins, and the Principal Booksellers in the Neighbouring States, 1799. 12mo, pp. [i-iv]  2-224 [note: page iv is mispaginated "vi"], contemporary full leather, red leather title piece affixed to spine panel. First edition. The first part of the second of Brown's four Gothic novels, a non-supernatural study of villainy which contains a remarkably vivid description of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Part two of ARTHUR MERVYN (not present here) was published separately in 1800. "Brown's place in literary history is not altogether due to the fact that he was the first American who tried to live by his pen or even that he was the first American novelist who won an international hearing. He continues to be occasionally read for his intrinsic merits -- for the somber intensity which, given a chance with any but superficial readers, outweighs his shambling structure and his verbose, stilted language. Like Poe and Hawthorne, whom he in several respects anticipates, Brown had a personal acquaintance with the dark moods which he enlarged and projected in his novels. He had an eager intellectual curiosity which gives his work, even at its most naïve, a certain air of range and significance." - DAB. BAL 1498. Wright (I) 418. Petter, The Early American Novel, pp. 334-40; 408-10. Signature of early owner Joseph Ewing on the title page and free endpapers. Small chip from lower right margin of leaf B1, several leaves with small nicks and short tears in lower and fore-edge margins, several leaves dog-eared, text block with some staining and scattered foxing throughout, endpapers stained, inner front hinge reinforced with paper tape. Not a distinguished copy, but a book now uncommon in the trade. (#153245).
No statement of printing.