Another word about the Novel....
Posted by Erin L on June 06, 1998 at 22:13:09:
In response to Novel Reading, written by John W on June 05, 1998 at 07:04:18
] There was a tendency to dismiss novel reading as an occupation for idle women, because the predominant mode in the late 1790's and early 1800's was for novels of 'sensibility' or Gothic novels, mostly trivial.(snip)
This is true, and, if I'm not mistaken, I believe that Northanger Abbey in fact began as a spoof on the so-called Gothic novels of the period. The Gothic novel was a type of romance epitomized by such works as Walpole's The Castle of Otranto and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho.
The introduction to my 1195 Wordsworth Edition of Northanger Abbey reads, in part:
"The effete Horace Walpole was a man of many parts with a penchant for the medieval in general and the Gothic in particular. His jeu d'esprit, The Castle of Otranto, was published in 1765 and represented the start of a craze for the Gothic novel. Perhaps its most significant successor was William Beckford's Vathek, published in 1786, which acted as a catalyst for the sudden outpouring of melodramatic novels set against sinister and exotic backgrounds in which disadvantaged heroines overcome misunderstandings, danger and the supernatural to triumph in the final chapter. The most admired exponent was Ann Radcliffe, author of The Romance of the Forest(1791) and, more importantly, The Mysteries of Udolpho(1794) which has become a byword for the excesses of the genre, thanks largely to Jane Austen's friendly pastiche Northanger Abbey."
- Oops...make that 1995 ! (nfm) Erin L 22:15:18 6/06/98 (0)
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