Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

English (M.A.)



First Advisor

Helen Westra

Second Advisor

Kurt Bullock

Third Advisor

Avis Hewitt


Charles Brockden Brown’s novel Ormond (1799) is in many ways a typical Gothic novel. However, stripping away its Gothic trappings reveals a more complex tale than Brown’s European Gothic inspirations. Brown seems to have been keenly aware of the struggle to form a distinctly American identity in the wake of the Revolution. Reading Ormond as an attempt by Brown to outline a potential American identity reveals a complexity far beyond Ormond’s Gothic kin. Furthermore, examining Brown’s works Alcuin (1798) and “Walstein’s School of History” (1799) alongside Ormond exposes the basis for Brown’s position on women in the new Republic and the potential power of an author to guide a nation. Using the work of critics such as Leslie Fiedler, Patrick Marietta, and Julia Stern, I examine the characters Constantia Dudley, Stephen Dudley, and Ormond as representative of the struggle for American identity formation.