The Fascination of Aaron Burr
Scores of novelists and playwrights have explored the stories of Aaron Burr. I was amazed to discover that his achievements and failures had appealed to such diverse writers as Eudora Welty and James Thurber, both of whom wrote short stories about him.
Yesterday, brought two more examples of Burr’s appeal to the literary imagination. An obituary for David Z. Nevin, an historical novelist, noted that one of his books (Treason) explored “Aaron Burr’s desperate effort to regain his standing after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.”
But that’s what my historical narrative — American Emperor — does from the non-fiction side, or at least what it will do when it is released on October 25! (By the way, that link takes you to Amazon, where you can pre-order my baby already! Well done, Simon & Schuster!)
And then there’s a forthcoming novel, to be released next month, called The Watery Part of the World, by Michael Parker. That one focuses on the mystery of Burr’s daughter Theodosia, who boarded a ship in Charleston, South Carolina in late December 1812 and was never heard from again. How did she end? Pirates? The reefs of the Outer Banks? That’s the beauty part of the Theodosia story. Mr. Parker got to make up his own ending.
Ah you saw that — we wondered:
” An obituary for David Z. Nevin, an historical novelist, noted that one of his books (Treason) explored “Aaron Burr’s desperate effort to regain his standing after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.” ”
John C. Calhoun also dreamed the personal empire dream of the southern states leaving the union, joining with the western territories, with South Carolina and himself as the central authority. They struck some medals even, that stated “John C. Calhoun First President of the Confederacy.” This was back in the 1830’s.