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Murder and MadnessThe Myth of the Kentucky Tragedy$
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Matthew G. Schoenbachler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125664

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125664.001.0001

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Romance and Delusion

Romance and Delusion

Jereboam Beauchamp

(p.71) Chapter 3 Romance and Delusion
Murder and Madness

Matthew G. Schoenbachler

University Press of Kentucky

Jereboam Beauchamp spent much of his life cavalierly disregarding what was deemed proper behavior by the moral guardians of his day. Believing himself a tragic hero who must create, express, and exhibit his identity without concern for consequences, Beauchamp consciously strove to embody all the reckless traits made alluring by demonic romanticism. Beauchamp was also emblematic of the manner in which the romantic persuasion seeped into the lives of Americans and helped spark a massive early-nineteenth-century shift in the collective moral sensibility of the young nation. To understand Jereboam Beauchamp himself, to apprehend “the singular cast of mind and feeling of this extraordinary man”, note of Beauchamp's unusually strong mimetic impulses must be made. As the Confession tells it, as soon as Anna reveals her secret to Jereboam, he rashly determines to journey to Frankfort and challenge Colonel Sharp to a duel. Because Anna never gave birth to a child by Jereboam, Dr. Sharp contended that the pregnancy was a lie of Anna's to get him to marry her.

Keywords:   Anna Cooke, Jereboam Beauchamp, Solomon Sharp, romanticism, delusion, pregnancy

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