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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 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.
This small collection of essays explores women’s relationship with the gothic: a relationship which has, since its eighteenth-century beginnings, always been complex. These essays demonstrate some of the scope and diversity of that relationship, and much of its intensity: the ingenuity and genius employed, the anguish experienced and the risks taken, in its evolution. Genuinely representative of gothic’s flexibility and presence in everything from novels to architecture, from surrealist art to hypertext fiction, this volume brings new primary sources and topics to the reader’s attention, and will be of interest to anyone who wants to expand and challenge their understanding of how and why women engage with the gothic.
With its roots in Romanticism, antiquarianism, and the primacy of the imagination, the Gothic genre originated in the 18th century, flourished in the 19th, and continues to thrive today. This reference work provides an introduction to Gothic literature and its abundant criticism and summarizes contemporary developments and critical opinion in Gothic Studies. The volume includes alphabetically arranged entries for more than 50 Gothic writers from Horace Walpole to Stephen King. Each entry includes a primary bibliography, a critical essay on the author's place in the Gothic tradition, and a selected, annotated bibliography of scholarship. Entries for Russian, Japanese, French, and German writers give an international scope to the book, while the focus on English and American literature shows the dynamic nature of Gothicism today.
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.
Journal of the American Name Society.

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