May 27 2009

Nineteenth-Century Americans, Out of their Heads?

I just came across Thomas Baily Aldrich’s Out of His Head. A Romance and it looks really interesting. From a first scan, it looks like there’s a lot of scientific language in here. Also, the main character is clearly “out of his head” which reminds me very much of Sheppard Lee and his questionable mental stability. That animal magnetic characters are inherently prone to mania is a thread that I’m noticing. I will, of course, have to read Out of His Head to make sure this makes sense. Also, the trope of the insane American is intriguing–Rip Van Winkle, Sheppard Lee, Edgar Huntly, Wieland, this Thomas Baily dude….hmm, and this could possibly connect to the work I was doing on American Nervousness and Beard’s work. Very interesting…

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