Robert Miles
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The Catholic other in Horace Walpole and Charles Maturin
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Portraying a continent disfigured by the Inquisition, Jesuitical conspiracy, and mob violence, Charles Maturin's most famous novel has often been taken as the high-water mark of Gothic anti-Catholicism and Europhobia. Turning to Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, the prototype of Gothic romance, is the quickest way of taking one's generic bearings when discussing early Gothic. The tendency of the Shakespearian romance plot to come unstuck in the Gothic is attributable to the cultural ambivalence generated by the Glorious Revolution. The settlement that followed left Englishmen imaginatively suspended between Divine Right and the ancient constitution, or monarchy and abstract rights. The representation of the European other in early Gothic, is not part of a single binary of Protestant/Catholic, Briton/European, but a complex fabric 'haunted' by the issue of legitimacy inevitably provoked by the task of forging nations.

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European Gothic

A spirited exchange 1760-1960



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