Social Reform in Gothic Writing Fantastic Forms of Change, 1764-1834

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-06-27
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Breaking with traditional analyses of Gothic literature that limit its influence to a reactive critique of current events, Social Reform in Gothic Writing argues for a new political reading of Gothic writing from England, America, and colonial Jamaica - one that recognizes the transformative power of this popular literature. Social Reform in Gothic Writing provides a transatlantic view of Gothic literature's intervention into the public discourse surrounding seminal issues of the Revolutionary era such as women's property rights, population pressure, public health, and abolition.
Informed by genre and reader-response theories, the unique contribution of Social Reform is its insistence that Gothic fantasy can have real-world political impact through documenting ideological shifts wrought by author/audience interaction and identifying the social policies that Gothic texts helped to shape. Authors examined include Horace Walpole, Charlotte Smith, Ann Radcliffe and William Godwin.

Author Biography

Ellen Malenas Ledoux is Assistant Professor and Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Rutgers University, Camden, USA. She specializes in Romanticism, the Gothic, and transatlantic writers of the Revolutionary period. She has published articles in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture and Women's Writing.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Fantastic Forms of Change
2. Emergent Forms: Horace Walpole, Politics, and the Eighteenth-Century Reader
3. A Castle of One's Own: The Architecture of Emerging Feminism
4. Transmuting the Baser Metals: The Post-Revolutionary Audience, Political Economy, and Gothic Forms in Godwin's St. Leon: A Tale of the Sixteenth Century
5. 'Schemes of Reformation': Institutionalized Healthcare in Charles Brockden Brown's Arthur Mervyn
6. Re-forming Genres: Negotiating Slavery in the Works of Matthew Lewis

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