Lee’s Kruitzner and Byron’s Werner
in Gothic writing 1750–1820
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The Gothic aesthetic and hygienic self gain their particular accents during the latter half of the eighteenth century; during the nineteenth, they become less distinct while others are heard. This chapter addresses the effect this had on Gothic writing during the 1820s and beyond and the genealogical consequences. Byron's Werner; or, The Inheritance: A Tragedy, a dramatic adaptation of Harriet Lee's novella, The German's Tale: Kruitzner, is an instance of rewriting at the margins of the Gothics classic period. The geographical and temporal setting, 'Germany' in 1633, towards the end of the Thirty Years War, highlights the 'Gothic cusp', a period when the feudal and modern eras were understood to overlap. Insofar as Kruitzner sets it out as typical, the house of Siegendorf, like all Gothic houses, is based on 'mystery and blood', violence shrouded by an obscurantist myth of noble origin.

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