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This chapter contains a collection of gothic texts between 1709 and 1814 connected with the Anti-Gothic. John Dunlop's magisterial history deals briefly with English Gothic fiction. The extracts include his general comments on the genre, bracketing a survey of works by Horace Walpole, Clara Reeve and Ann Radcliffe. But Horace's Ars Poetica was by far the most frequent resort of opponents of Gothic fiction and drama. Sophia Lee's The Recess, which relates the adventures of two invented daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots, provoked some unease concerning the mingling of fiction and recorded history. William Beckford was the author of the orientalist Gothic tale Vathek, which was compared to the Arabian Nights on its first appearance. In spite of the praise lavished on Shakespeare's scenes of supernatural terror, and their popularity with audiences, there was strong critical opposition to the introduction of the marvellous into contemporary dramatic writing.

Gothic documents

A sourcebook 1700–1820

Editors: E.J. Clery and Robert Miles


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