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This chapter offers a contemplation on the symbiotic nature and interdependencies of the later works of Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis, and their consequent reputations in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Beginning with an account of how the critical tradition has tended to conceptualise the Radcliffe/ Lewis relation, the chapter focuses in upon a range of contemporary readerships that chose to read, compare and mention in the same breath the works of both authors, often without drawing any aesthetic differences between them.
Written by the editors, this essay provides an Introduction to all three volumes of The Cambridge History of the Gothic. It proceeds by casting a self-reflexive glance at the notion of ‘history’ as it is represented in Gothic writing itself, arguing that, since its inception in the eighteenth century, Gothic has always occupied a fraught and complex position in relation to the practice of formal and official historiography. Second, it provides an overview of the volumes to follow, foregrounding the ways in which the essays brought together here, more than simply offering a rigorous ‘history’ of the Gothic, are preoccupied with the ways in which the Gothic has responded to, and been inscribed within, some of the determining historical events of Western civilisation, from the Sacking of Rome in AD 410 to the twenty-first century.
This chapter surveys the literary achievements of the group of writers who gathered together on the banks of Lake Geneva in the Summer of 1816: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; Percy Bysshe Shelley; John Polidori; and Lord Byron. Beginning with the famous ghost storytelling competition proposed by Byron, it considers the extent to which Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while located in the earlier tradition of Radcliffean romance, forged new directions for the Gothic mode through its graphic realisation of corporeal and textual monstrosity. While it forces us to reconsider notions of origin and influence among the group, Polidori’s The Vampyre, the chapter argues, bequeathed to the Gothic its own ‘monstrous progeny’. Engaging with, and thoroughly revising, the earlier poetry of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley and Byron, for their part, set in place some of the distinctive features of second-generation Romanticism, even if the works that they produced during this period force us to interrogate the critical distinction between the ‘Romantic’ and the ‘Gothic’ itself.
This second volume of The Cambridge History of the Gothic provides a rigorous account of the Gothic in British, American and Continental European culture, from the Romantic period through to the Victorian fin de siècle. Here, leading scholars in the fields of literature, theatre, architecture and the history of science and popular entertainment explore the Gothic in its numerous interdisciplinary forms and guises, as well as across a range of different international contexts. As much a cultural history of the Gothic in this period as an account of the ways in which the Gothic mode has participated in the formative historical events of modernity, the volume offers fresh perspectives on familiar themes while also drawing new critical attention to a range of hitherto overlooked concerns. From Romanticism, to Penny Bloods, Dickens and even the railway system, the volume provides a compelling and comprehensive study of nineteenth-century Gothic culture.
This first volume of The Cambridge History of the Gothic provides a rigorous account of the Gothic in Western civilisation, from the Goths' sacking of Rome in 410 AD through to its manifestations in British and European culture of the long eighteenth century. Written by international cast of leading scholars, the chapters explore the interdisciplinary nature of the Gothic in the fields of history, literature, architecture and fine art. As much a cultural history of Gothic as an account of the ways in which the Gothic has participated within a number of formative historical events across time, the volume offers fresh perspectives on familiar themes while also drawing new critical attention to a range of hitherto overlooked concerns. From writers such as Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe to eighteenth-century politics and theatre, the volume provides a thorough and engaging overview of early Gothic culture in Britain and beyond.