Download Social Reform in Gothic Writing: Fantastic Forms of Change, by Ellen Malenas Ledoux PDF

By Ellen Malenas Ledoux

Social Reform in Gothic Writing presents a transatlantic view of the politically transformative strength that Gothic texts effected through the innovative period (1764-1834) via delivering clean readings of canonical and non-canonical writing in a wide selection of genres.

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Additional info for Social Reform in Gothic Writing: Fantastic Forms of Change, 1764–1834

Sample text

Rather, the ending is the result of a fulfilled contract between two corrupt agents. The divine agent is more powerful than the human one, but St. Nicholas’s moral authority is not greater than Manfred’s. One of the seemingly oddest developments in the text actually creates a powerful symbol of the universal corruption. At the moment Theodore claims the castle as rightful heir, his ancestor turns Theodore’s birthright into a pile of rubble: “the walls of the castle” are “thrown down with a mighty force, and the form of Alfonso, dilated to an immense magnitude, appear[s] in the centre of the ruins” (p.

Although these observations approach truisms from the perspective of a twenty-first century skeptic, conveying them was integral to Walpole’s literary project in both fiction and non-fiction. The behavior represented in Otranto closely tracks with Walpole’s theory of English politics as set forth in Memoirs of the Reign of King George the Third. While he denies trying to “pass off these trifling anecdotes . . ”34 George the Third’s picture is unflattering, demonstrating “how little men are, though riding what is called the Top of the World” (2:7).

The crowd’s ambiguous use of the word “suck” conveys the idea that George III draws power and strength from his mother; however, because George was 22 years old at this point, it also suggests an incestuous sexual relationship. Although Walpole does not give an example of the “gross and insulting” comments to which the Princess Dowager was subject, the sucking imagery indicates that these “apostrophes” were of a sexual, or at least a bodily, nature and targeted the pair’s political intimacy by underscoring their close physical connection as mother and child.

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