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Title: The presentation of emotion in the English Gothic novels of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with particular reference to Ann Radcliffe's 'Mysteries of Udolpho', M.G. Lewis's 'Monk', Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein', C.R. Maturin's 'Melmoth the Wanderer', Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre', and works by the minor Minerva Press novelists Regina Maria Roche and Mary Anne Radcliffe
Author: Howells, Coral Ann
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1969
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This thesis is an examination of values and craftsmanship in the Gothic novel, and sets out to demonstrate that the changes which occurred between 1790 and 1820 constituted a series of experimental attempts to present new areas of emotional and imaginative awareness in fiction. Though it is not a historical survey, some attention has been given to location. The studies of particular novels are related to the aesthetic tastes of the age, and an attempt is made to show how the Gothic novelists1 preoccupation with emotion and fantasy distinguished their work from earlier fiction. The discussion follows chronological lines which reflect the developmental nature of the changes. The characteristic emphasis in Gothic fiction is on irrationality and subjective experience. Though it is invariably melodramatic, there is a gradual movement away from conventionalised abstractions of feeling and character towards more precise analysis and description of individual emotional states. The novels I have chosen mark significant stages in this progress. The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Monk established the pattern and the enthusiasm for Gothic fiction. In Mrs. Radcliffe's sentimental Gothic and Lewis's "horror" Gothic there is an insistence on sensational incidents and emotional crises which characterises the pre-Romantic ambivalent attitude towards irrational experience. Frankenstein and Melmoth the Wanderer mark the assimilation of Gothic into the imaginative literature of Romanticism. Both are recognisably Gothic in their obsessional fantasies and their sensationalism, but both authors use external dramatics as techniques for realising inner states and motivations rather than as ends in themselves. In conclusion, Jane Byre shows the full realisation of the potential of Gothic, where fact and fantasy are fused into a realistic statement of total experience. It marks the break-through into the everyday world which the earlier Gothic novelists had rejected or failed to achieve. Jane Byre places the value of the earlier Gothic novels in perspective. In addition to expressing late eighteenth century emotional reactions against rationalist conventions, they can be seen as necessary experiments in working out a new emotional and imaginative vocabulary in fiction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature