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Reading Gothic FictionA Bakhtinian Approach$
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Jacqueline Howard

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198119920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119920.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 March 2021

Gothic Sublimity: Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho

Gothic Sublimity: Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho

Chapter:
(p.106) 3 Gothic Sublimity: Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho
Source:
Reading Gothic Fiction
Author(s):

Jacqueline Howard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119920.003.0004

This chapter attempts to illustrate the Bakhtinian argument more fully. It describes how Udolpho, with its setting in the ancestral past, participated in socio-political mythmaking about issues of class and gender during the ‘revolutionary’ decade in England. It shows how Radcliffe's recontextualization in this novel of late 18th-century discourses of sensibility, taste, and the sublime, together with elements of the fantastic, renders it distinctly ambiguous. While Udolpho condemns ‘excess’ of all sorts, including extreme sensibility and flights of fancy, and stresses bourgeois values of restraint, reason, benevolence, obedience, and fortitude, such ‘everyday legality’ is in turn relativized by the privileging of an uncanny prescience and aesthetic or romantic sensibility in artistic women.

Keywords:   Udolpho, novel, sensibility, taste, sublime

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