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Domestic Gothic: Narrating the Nation in Eighteenth-Century British Women's Gothic Fiction

Russell, Deborah (2011) Domestic Gothic: Narrating the Nation in Eighteenth-Century British Women's Gothic Fiction. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis argues that eighteenth-century British narratives of the nation’s past and of the history of women significantly inform and shape early women’s Gothic fiction. Foregrounding the idea of the Gothic as a genre preoccupied with national identity, it looks again at the coordinates of Gothic fiction to investigate novels set in Britain. It analyzes in detail novels written between 1777 and c.1802 by Clara Reeve, Sophia Lee, Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Smith, Eliza Fenwick, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Hays. The study examines the uses of Gothic tropes in such texts in the light of British political crises and societal tensions, exploring how these intersect with specifically gendered concerns. Such an approach shifts the emphasis in discussions of national identity in the genre; it no longer has to be primarily seen as negotiated in relation to a foreign other. Instead, this refocusing throws light on the detail of the national historical narratives that the mode manipulates. My awareness of the multivalency of the Gothic in historico-political contexts also exposes the diversity of its use in women’s fiction. The project thus aims to produce a more nuanced, historically-aware map of early women’s Gothic writing.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gothic, eighteenth-century fiction, women's writing, British history, national identity, genre, Clara Reeve, Sophia Lee, Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Smith, Eliza Fenwick, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Ms Deborah Russell
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2012 12:23
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2074

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