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Unspeakable Crimes: Charles Brockden Brown’s Memoirs of Stephen Calvert and the Rights of the Accused

Edwards, JD (2009) Unspeakable Crimes: Charles Brockden Brown’s Memoirs of Stephen Calvert and the Rights of the Accused Law and Literature, 21 (2). 214 - 233. ISSN 1535-685X

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Abstract

This article considers, from a contextual and poststructuralist perspective, due process in The Memoirs of Stephen Calvert by the early American novelist (and trained lawyer) Charles Brockden Brown. Brown's writing, the article suggests, participates in the thematic and rhetorical interface between law and literature. For although his fiction is fragmentary and nightmarish, moving from gothic cities to treacherous frontiers, the narration of transgressions and the law remain constant tropes. Thus, lawyers, conmen, criminals, and doppelgangers appear and reappear in works such as Stephen Calvert. The article focuses on how Brown puts the principles of the rights of the accused on trial in this posthumously published novel, for characters are identified as criminals in clear violation of the Fifth Amendment, which requires an articulation of the charges that are brought against the accused. In this, Stephen Calvert poses considerable legal questions: How are charges articulated? How are they presented in narrative form? And what happens when crimes are said to be "unspeakable"? The interrogation of these questions is highly significant in a new nation that is said to uphold due process of law.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published as [Edwards, J. (2009). Unspeakable Crimes: Charles Brockden Brown’s Memoirs of Stephen Calvert and the Rights of the Accused. Law and Literature, 21 (2), 214-233. © [2009] by the Cardozo School of law of the Yeshiva University. Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the University of California Press for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on [JSTOR (http://www.jstor.org/r/ucal)] or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center, http://www.copyright.com."
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Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences > English and Languages > English
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2012 11:46
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 19:18
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/286649

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