The first American novel, William Brown’s The Power of Sympathy was published today in 1789. Now WE know em

Posted on January 21, 2013 by




William Hill Brown was born in Boston in November of 1765.

Much of Brown’s personal history has been left unrecorded: only three examples of his handwriting remain.

Two of these examples are simply inscriptions in books.

The most telling of the three examples, however, was a letter that Brown wrote to a friend on April 29, 1784.

The letter reveals that his appearance reflects that of an “Old Dr. Chauncy,” suggesting a small, frail stature.

Brown also reveals in his letter that he was victim of a debilitating illness which kept him indoors for approximately four months.

Isaiah Thomas published William Brown’s The Power of Sympathy in his Boston based Massachusetts Magazine January 21, 1789.

The Power of Sympathy was William Brown’s first novel and considered the first American novel.

With this work, Brown differentiates American literature from British literature by the American setting.


The Power of Sympathy: or, The…

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Posted in: Book Reviews