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The Cambridge History of the Gothic The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century
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1.10 - Domestic Gothic Writing after Horace Walpole and before Ann Radcliffe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 July 2020

Angela Wright
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Dale Townshend
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
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Summary

This chapter focuses on an often overlooked aspect of the history of Gothic writing: the important works that appeared between the publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto in 1764–5 and that of Ann Radcliffe’s The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. These decades saw the publication of a rich and diverse range of Gothic-marked texts. Novels by Sophia Lee, Clara Reeve, Charlotte Smith and James White are considered in relation to the writing of less well-known authors such as Anne Fuller, Martha Harley, Harriet Meziere, Mr Nicholson and Thomas Sedgwick Whalley, as well as anonymously published work. While acknowledging the variety of approaches, styles and attitudes encompassed by such writing, the chapter demonstrates that, in the 1770s and 1780s, the Gothic is overwhelmingly associated with domestic, British settings. Such domestic Gothic writing also parallels the home and the nation, so that the stories of individuals reflect on national character. This first wave of Gothic texts aims to supplement and interrogate non-imaginative approaches to the nation’s past, participating in a sustained re-examination of British history and identity.

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The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century
, pp. 222 - 242
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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