Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Haunted Nobility: A Reevaluation of the British Ruling Classes as Depicted in the Eighteenth-Century Gothic Romance
by Terranova, Joel T., Ph.D., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2015, 180; 3711917
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation reconsiders depictions of aristocrats in the gothic romances of the eighteenth century. Structured within a historical framework, this study examines the impact of events such as the French Revolution and the subsequent Revolution Controversy on the political ideology in the gothic fiction of this period. Through an analysis of novelists such as Horace Walpole, William Godwin, and Regina Maria Roche, it is understood that although the gothic romance began as a pro-aristocratic genre, it developed into one more diverse in its representation of the upper class by the end of the century. Eventually, the gothic romance became a medium used by conservatives and radicals alike to express views on issues of social class to a middle-class readership. This research departs from previous scholarship that views the gothic romance solely as a subversive medium against the aristocracy by illuminating specific changes in the genre, such as its diversity of form, which derived from social questions about Britain's ruling class.

This research contributes a new perspective to social class issues in the gothic romance of the eighteenth century. Instead of viewing the treatment of the aristocracy in the British gothic romance as monolithic, this study acknowledges a variety of opinion within this genre that is reflective of the various political ideologies found in British society at the time.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Greene, John C.
Commitee: Andriano, Joseph D., DeVine, Christine
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: British and Irish literature
Keywords: Aristocrats, Gothic romances, Ruling classes, Social status
Publication Number: 3711917
ISBN: 978-1-321-88404-3
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