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Gothic AntiquityHistory, Romance, and the Architectural Imagination, 1760-1840$
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Dale Townshend

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198845669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198845669.001.0001

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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: 27 September 2021

From ‘Castles in the Air’ to the Topographical Gothic

From ‘Castles in the Air’ to the Topographical Gothic

Locating Ann Radcliffe’s Architectural Imagination

(p.131) 3 From ‘Castles in the Air’ to the Topographical Gothic
Gothic Antiquity

Dale Townshend

Oxford University Press

This chapter charts the genesis, development, and eventual modification of Ann Radcliffe’s architectural imagination over the most active years of her career. Having provided a reading of the politics of Radcliffe’s fictional castles, and situating her representations within the tradition of eighteenth-century landscape painting, the argument explores the transition from imaginary Gothic architectural forms—those proverbial ‘castles in the sky’—to the ‘real-life’ Gothic castles described in contemporary antiquarian topographies. Broadening the focus out beyond the particular case of Radcliffe, the chapter explores a more general sense of cultural transition in the period, one that resulted in a marked turning away from fake ruins, follies, and fictional ‘castles in the air’ and a movement into the more ‘authentic’, grounded, and antiquarian impulses of the ‘topographical Gothic’.

Keywords:   Ann Radcliffe, politics, ruined castles, capriccio, topography, travel writing

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