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|Title:||"A Thousand Nameless Flowers Among the Grass": The Hidden Discourse of Ann Radcliffe|
|Keywords:||female Gothic, female sexuality, female creativity, desire, hidden woman artist, eighteenth-century, identity|
|Abstract:||In an attempt better to understand the appeal of the Gothic novel during its initial appearance in eighteenth-century England, particularly that of the 'female Gothic'--a sub-genre recently declared by feminist critics such as Claire Kahane, Ellen Moers, and Tania Modleski--this essay considers three novels by Ann Radcliffe, possibly the best-known female writer of her time: The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), The Romance of the Forest (1791), and The Italian (1797). Beginning with an examination of Radcliffe's unique use of landscapes and her adoption of Burke's Sublime, I postulate a symbology and subtext which address the generally unacknowledged topics of female sexuality and female creativity. The representation of feminine desire, as well as the continued theme of the hidden woman artist, I argue, together comprise the 'hidden discourse' integral to the 'female Gothic' pioneered by Radcliffe. Bearing in mind the emergence in the later eighteenth-century of a large female audience for Radcliffe's novels, l analyse the different physical prospects and personalities associated with heroine and villain as politically polarized 'visions' of reality. The inevitable moral and aesthetic conflict of these visions culminates in the heroine's ultimate triumph over the villain and the patriarchal society he represents. Through this analysis of her fiction's hidden discourse, Radcliffe's contribution to the Gothic genre can be seen as politically subversive, her novels concealing a defiance of her male-dominated culture as well as containing an affirmation of identity for her female readers.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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