Gothic Readings: The First Wave, 1764-1840
Gothic Readings: The First Wave, 1764-1840 is an anthology of Gothic literature, set within the context of contemporary criticism and readers' responses. It includes selections from the major practitioners - indcluding Horace Walpole, William Beckford, Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Gregory Lewis, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Godwin, Mary Shelley, Charles Robert Maturin and Edgar Allan Poe - and many of their followers, as well as contemporary reviews, private letters and diaries, chapbooks, and anecdotes about dramatic performaces and the design of theatre sets. The volume provides representative samples of the major genres: historical Gothic, the Radcliffe school of terror, the Lewis school of horror, tragic melodrama, comic parody, supernatural poetry and ballads, book reviews and literary criticism and anti-Gothic polemic. Also covered are the major Gothic issues such as the aesthetics of the sublime, religionn and the supernatural and the influence of ancient Romance, 'hobgoblin machinery' (including vampires, spectres, orphans, the Inquisition, banditti, nuns, storms and ruined castles), and social and political themes. A general introduction reviews the major approaches to Gothic literature, and short introductions place individual selections in context. All the texts are based on first editions. The collection is suitable as a textbook for courses on the Gothic novel or on Romantic literature and will appeal to all Gothic enthusiasts. Rictor Norton is the author of Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe.
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