Gothic Threats: The Role of Danger in the Critical Evaluation of The Monk and The Mysteries of Udolpho
Gothic Threats argues that eighteenth-century British critics based their judgments of Gothic fictions on the fictions' apparent capacity to help or hurt social order. If, like Matthew Lewis's The Monk, a novel seemed to corrupt the young, erode gender norms, encourage heretical belief in the supernatural, or foment revolution, critics condemned it. If, like Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho, a novel that seemed to fight against such threats, critics gave it the highest praise. This politically-determined pattern of “aesthetic” evaluation helped to establish the Gothic's place in the hierarchy of high and low culture.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Princeton University
Publication date: 01 November 2006
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- The official journal of the International Gothic Association considers the field of Gothic studies from the eighteenth century to the present day. The aim of Gothic Studies is not merely to open a forum for dialogue and cultural criticism, but to provide a specialist journal for scholars working in a field which is today taught or researched in almost all academic establishments. Gothic Studies invites contributions from scholars working within any period of the Gothic; interdisciplinary scholarship is especially welcome, as are readings in the media and beyond the written word.
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