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Matthew Lewis‘s The Castle Spectre
James Robert Allard

The Castle Spectre was one of the most popular and successful theatrical events of its day, and critics have often tried to explain its success, usually appealing to the ‘spectacular’ appearance of the spectre herself. But critics have not explored how the spectre - certainly no novelty on the stage - caused such a stir among contemporary audiences. By examining a selection of reviews, comments by contemporary literary figures, the text of the play, and Lewis‘s own comments concerning his spectacle, this paper demonstrates how Lewis employs strategies of delay and misdirection to make an otherwise nonviolent and unspectacular play appear excessively violent and spectacular even by 1790s Gothic standards.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Anne Williams, Jeffrey Cass, Carol Margaret Davison, Diane Long Hoeveler, James Allard, Helen Roulston, John Vance, Martin Willis, and Sue Zlosnik

Gothic Studies