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Sandro Jung

The essay explores Ann Radcliffe‘s complex notion of sensibility in The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and considers the relationship between the servant class and the young Emily St Aubert. It is argued that the servants’ deployment of the comic Gothic moderates and qualifies Emily‘s heightened sensibility and facilitates her fashioning herself as a woman whose actions are informed by a working together of sensibility and reason, rather than an unquestioning trust in superstition. The comic mode, in that regard, serves as an important element in the development of Emily‘s personality and highlights the dangers of too excessive an indulgence of refined sensibility.

Gothic Studies