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A Feminine EnlightenmentBritish Women Writers and the Philosophy of Progress, 1759-1820$
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JoEllen DeLucia

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748695942

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748695942.001.0001

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Poetry, Paratext, and History in Radcliffe’s Gothic

Poetry, Paratext, and History in Radcliffe’s Gothic

Chapter:
(p.125) Chapter 4 Poetry, Paratext, and History in Radcliffe’s Gothic
Source:
A Feminine Enlightenment
Author(s):

JoEllen DeLucia

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748695942.003.0004

This chapter argues that attention to Ann Radcliffe’s use of Scots poetry in the epigraphs of TheMysteries of Udolpho (1794) transforms the female gothic into an historical instead of a psychological analytic. In the tension between Udolpho’s representations of female sensibility and its paratext—what Gerard Genette calls the “border” or “threshold” of the text—this chapter finds an uneven and non-linear feminist historiography capable of producing unconventional accounts of women’s experiences of British imperial and commercial growth. Specifically, Radcliffe uses James Thomson’s The Castle of Indolence (1748) and James Beattie’s The Minstrel (1771) as signposts for her heroine’s journey, grafting Emily St. Aubert’s “progress” onto debates about history, the relationship between manners and economic structures, and the place of women in historical narrative.

Keywords:   Ann Radcliffe, feminist history, gothic, James Beattie, Mysteries of Udolpho, paratext, James Thomson, Scottish Enlightenment

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