Contesting the Gothic: Fiction, Genre and Cultural Conflict, 1764-1832

Overview

James Watt's historically grounded account of Gothic fiction takes issue with received accounts of the genre as a stable and continuous tradition. Charting its vicissitudes from Walpole's The Castle of Otranto to Scott's Waverley novels, Watt shows the Gothic to have been a heterogeneous body of fiction, characterised at times by antagonistic relations between various writers or works. Central to Watt's argument about the writing and reception of these works is a nuanced understanding of their political import: ...
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Overview

James Watt's historically grounded account of Gothic fiction takes issue with received accounts of the genre as a stable and continuous tradition. Charting its vicissitudes from Walpole's The Castle of Otranto to Scott's Waverley novels, Watt shows the Gothic to have been a heterogeneous body of fiction, characterised at times by antagonistic relations between various writers or works. Central to Watt's argument about the writing and reception of these works is a nuanced understanding of their political import: he discusses Walpole's attempt to forge an aristocratic identity, the loyalist affiliations of many neglected works of the 1790s, the subversive reputation of The Monk, and the ways in which Radcliffean romance proved congenial to conservative critics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"James Watt argues that generic labels need to be re-examined, with greater attention given to the historical specificity of certain "so-called Gothic" works. This is an exciting historicist study that provides important contextual material for Gothic scholars." British and American Literatures

"...Contesting the Gothic is impressively researched, well-documented, and convincing in its claims." Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

"The exposition is lucid, the reasoning scrupulous, the tone measured and never polemical. The book can be recommended to anyone as the model of a focused and thoroughly professional investigation that carves out a niche of originality in a very crowded literary shelf." Eighteenth-Century Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521024815
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism Series , #33
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction 1
1 Origins: Horace Walpole and The Castle of Otranto 12
2 The Loyalist Gothic romance 42
3 Gothic 'subversion': German literature, the Minerva Press, Matthew Lewis 70
4 The first poetess of romantic fiction: Ann Radcliffe 102
5 The field of romance: Walter Scott, the Waverley novels, the Gothic 130
Notes 160
Bibliography 186
Index 201
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