‘Her lovely arm a little bloody’
Richardson‘s Gothic Bodies
in Gothic Studies
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In Sir Charles Grandison, Richardson anticipates the imaginary Italy of the Gothic novel. The categories of gender and nationality that Richardson constructs in the division of the ‘Names of the Principal Persons’ into ‘Men’, ‘Women’ and ‘Italians’ intersect with categories of health and illness to reinforce the opposition of a sensible, enlightened England, home of liberty and social stability, against a passionate, unstable and irrational Catholic Italy, home of wounded, mad and dangerous ‘Italians’. While the Gothic novel relies on landscape descriptions, banditti and abandoned castles to create a sense of terror, in Sir Charles Grandison, the Gothic is located, not in Italy, imaginary or otherwise, but in the bodies of the Italian characters.

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