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The Failure of GothicProblems of Disjunction in an Eighteenth-Century Literary Form$
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Elizabeth R. Napier

Print publication date: 1987

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128601.001.0001

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Attractive Persecution: The Mysteries of Udolpho

Attractive Persecution: The Mysteries of Udolpho

(p.100) 4 Attractive Persecution: The Mysteries of Udolpho
The Failure of Gothic

Elizabeth R. Napier

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. It argues that the Gothic—because it extends rather than resolves the tensions between reason and imagination, and fortitude and sensibility—not only fails to settle the central questions of The Mysteries of Udolpho; it contributes directly to the production of an aesthetic of loss and deprivation, in which melancholy and suffering become the highest expression of feeling, and in which the abandonment of the self to the weakness of superstition is seen, paradoxically, as a form of emotional heightening and liberation.

Keywords:   emotion, Gothic fiction, Ann Radcliffe, melancholy, suffering, feeling

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