"Surely some insanity has fastened on my understanding"

— Brown, Charles Brockden (1771-1810)

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Hugh Maxwell
"Surely some insanity has fastened on my understanding"
Metaphor in Context
You may imagine, if you can, the sensations which this instantaneous transformation produced. Appearances are wonderfully influenced by dress. Check shirt, buttoned at the neck, an awkward fustian coat, check trowsers, and bare feet were now supplanted by linen and muslin, nankeen coat, striped with green, a white silk waistcoat, elegantly needle-wrought, casimer pantaloons, stockings of variegated silk, and shoes that in thier softness, pliancy, and polished surface vied with sattin. I could scarcely forbear looking back to see whether the image in the glass, so well proportioned, so gallant, and so graceful, did not belong to another. I could scarcely recognize any lineaments of my own. I walked to the window. Twenty minutes ago, said I, I was traversing that path a barefoot beggar; now I am thus. Again I surveyed myself. Surely some insanity has fastened on my understanding. My senses are the sport of dreams. Some magic that disdains the cumbrousness of nature's progress, has wrought this change. I was roused from these doubts by a summons to breakfast, obsequiously delivered by a black servant.
(Part I, chapter 4, p. 264-5)
First part published in 1799; second in 1800. Reading and transcribing text from Charles Brockden Brown, Three Gothic Novels. New York: Library of America,1998.
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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.