Charles Brockden Brown was America's first professional novelists. His best-known novel was Wireland of the Transformation. Brown's startlingly prophetic novels are a virtual resume of themes that would constantly recur in American literature: madness and murder, suicide and religious obsession, the seduction of innocence and the dangers of wilderness. Arthur Mervyn is set during a yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793. In Arthur Mervyn, Brown draws on his own experiences to create indelible scenes of Philadelphia devastated by a yellow fever epidemic, while telling the story of a young man caught in the snares of a professional swindler. Arthur Mervyn is discovered by Dr. Stevens sitting on a bench. He is suffering from yellow fever, and since Dr. Stevens pities him he is invited into the Stevens household. This is his story.