Concerns of linguistic, cultural and military incursion from France emerge more frequently in the wake of the Seven Years’ War. In the literary arena, one of the ways in which these concerns are marked is through the highly-contested national stakes of chivalry. This essay argues that these national stakes of chivalry are negotiated in the realm of the Gothic romance in a particularly fluid and dynamic manner. Addressing recent critical assumptions about the conservatism inherent in prose treatments of medieval chivalry, the essay explores the possibility that Gothic romance recuperates a more positive version of chivalry in the wake of the famous Burke/Wollstonecraft revolutionary debate of 1790.
Mourning and Melancholia in Female Gothic, 1780–1800
Wright explores how novels by Eliza Fenwick, Sophia Lee, Maria Roche, and Ann Radcliffe critique, via their fascination with portraiture, eighteenth-century consumerism. Wright argues that this engagement with image-making indicates late eighteenth century concerns with fashion, opulence and consumerism which become relocated in women‘s Gothic writing through the correlated issues of female insanity, desire and loss.
Matthew Lewis’s The Monk and the Marquis de Sade’s La Nouvelle Justine
This chapter begins by tracing the mutual influences which the texts of the Marquis de Sade and Matthew Gregory Lewis shared. Lewis is rightfully accorded a prominent position in critical surveys of the English Gothic novel due to his notorious production The Monk. The de Sade has also recently been afforded a great deal of critical and biographical attention. In all, The Monk offers the following three core models of femininity that are both indebted to previous literary representations and intended to disrupt them: Antonia, Agnes and Matilda. Besides locational and atmospheric resemblances, there are also clear thematic parallels between Justine, ou les malheurs de la vertu, The Monk, and de Sade's subsequent La Nouvelle Justine. The chapter concludes by charting the reciprocity of themes and ideas between Lewis and de Sade.