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The protagonist of Charlotte Dacre’s best known novel, Zofloya, or the Moor (1806) is unique in women’s Gothic and Romantic literature, and has more in common with the heroines of Sade or M.G. Lewis than with those of Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Smith or Jane Austen. No heroine of Radcliffe or Austen could exult, as Victoria does in this novel, that “there is certainly a pleasure … in the infliction of prolonged torment.” The sexual desires and ambition of Dacre’s protagonist, Victoria, drive her to seduce, torture and murder. Victoria is inspired to greater criminal and illicit acts by a seductive Lucifer, disguised as a Moor, before she too is plunged into an abyss by her demon lover. The text’s unusual evocations of the female body and feminine subject are of particular interest in the context of the history of sexuality and of the body; after embarking on a series of violent crimes, Victoria’s body actually begins to grow stronger and decidedly more masculine. Among the documents included as appendices to this volume are a selection of Dacre’s poetry and excerpts from Bienville’s Nymphomania, a medical treatise of the time aimed at a lay audience that focuses largely on the dangerous powers of women’s imagination; inspired by improper novels, it is alleged that women may plunge into madness, violence and death—much as does the protagonist of Zofloya herself.
This Broadview edition pairs the first Gothic novel with the first Gothic drama, both by Horace Walpole. Published on Christmas Eve, 1764, on Walpole’s private press at Strawberry Hill, his Gothicized country house, The Castle of Otranto became an instant and immediate classic of the Gothic genre as well as the prototype for Gothic fiction for the next two hundred years. Walpole’s brooding and intense drama, The Mysterious Mother, focuses on the protagonist’s angst over an act of incest with his mother, and includes the appearance of Father Benedict, Gothic literature’s first evil monk. Appendices in this edition include selections from Walpole’s letters, contemporary responses, and writings illustrating the aesthetic and intellectual climate of the period. Also included is Sir Walter Scott’s introduction to the 1811 edition of The Castle of Otranto.
This bestselling text by Charles Barber recounts the history of the English language from its ancestry to the present day.
This title offers a detailed yet accessible introduction to classic British Gothic literature and the popular sub-category of the Female Gothic designed for the student reader. Works by such classic Gothic authors as Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, William Godwin, and Mary Shelley are examined against the backdrop of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British social and political history and significant intellectual/cultural developments. Identification and interpretation of the Gothic’s variously reconfigured major motifs and conventions is provided alongside suggestions for further critical reading, a timeline of notable Gothic-related publications, and consideration of various theoretical approaches.
Female writers of Gothic were hell-raisers in more than one sense: not only did they specialize in evoking scenes of horror, cruelty, and supernaturalism, but in doing so they exploded the literary conventions of the day, and laid claim to realms of the imagination hitherto reserved for men. They were rewarded with popular success, large profits, and even critical adulation. E. J. Clery's acclaimed study tells the strange but true story of women's Gothic. She identifies contemporary fascination with the operation of the passions and the example of the great tragic actress Sarah Siddons as enabling factors, and then examines in depth the careers of two pioneers of the genre, Clara Reeve and Sophia Lee, its reigning queen, Ann Radcliffe, and the daring experimentalists Joanna Baillie and Charlotte Dacre. The account culminates with Mary Shelley, whose Frankenstein (1818) has attained mythical status. Students and scholars as well as general readers will find Women's Gothic a stimulating introduction to an important literary mode.
Incarnations of fatal women, or femmes fatales, recur throughout the works of women writers in the Romantic period. Adriana Craciun demonstrates how portrayals of femmes fatales or fatal women played an important role in the development of Romantic women's poetic identities and informed their exploration of issues surrounding the body, sexuality and politics. Craciun covers a wide range of writers and genres from the 1790s through the 1830s. She discusses the work of well-known figures including Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as lesser-known writers like Anne Bannerman. By examining women writers' fatal women in historical, political and medical contexts, Craciun uncovers a far-ranging debate on sexual difference. She also engages with current research on the history of the body and sexuality, providing an important historical precedent for modern feminist theory's ongoing dilemma regarding the status of 'woman' as a sex.

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