Gothic renovations
in Gothic documents
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This chapter contains a collection of gothic texts between 1797 and 1845 connected with Gothic Renovations. William Godwin was one of the leading radical intellectuals of the Romantic era. Thomas Carlyle finds romance in the phantasmagoria of common experience; romance exists 'in Reality alone'. The logic of Carlyle's position is that one should no longer seek the supernatural in the manners of the Middle Ages, and therefore in Gothic romances; one finds it, rather, in the theatre of everyday life. Anna Laetitia Barbauld, nee Aikin, was a radical Dissenter and an important figure in the history of Gothic writing. The 'Gothic', in the shape of Sir Walter Scott's version of historical romance, supports the cause of conservative idealism. This thesis is antithetical to that of the essay by Godwin and demonstrates the way in which Gothic writing remains a site of contention.

Gothic documents

A sourcebook 1700–1820

Editors: E.J. Clery and Robert Miles

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