Reassessing the Gothic/Classical relationship
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Citation (published version)James Uden. 2020. "Reassessing the Gothic/Classical Relationship." The Cambridge History of the Gothic: Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century. A. Wright & D. Townshend (Eds.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 161-179. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108561044.008
This chapter examines in three stages the surprisingly vital place of the Classical literatures of Greece and Rome in the development of the Gothic. First, Horace Walpole and his contemporaries Edward Young and Richard Hurd irreverently reimagined Classical antiquity not as a model of propriety and decorum, but as a grotesque realm of monsters and ghosts. Second, Clara Reeve challenged the social prejudice that accorded prestige to the masculine zone of Classical texts but not to popular literature; The Old English Baron blends a Gothic narrative with motifs from Classical historiography in order to challenge the artificial hierarchy separating the two modes. Third, writers of the Romantic age presented Rome as a haunted city, recasting the influence of Greece and Rome in spectral terms. The Gothic, it shows, is no simple departure from the Classical. Rather, the tension between the two is sustained throughout the history of the genre as one of its basic elements, and we need to restore a sense of that tension in order to understand the full force of the Gothic in the literary and aesthetic consciousness of the long eighteenth century.
RightsThis material has been published in "The Cambridge History of the Gothic: Volume 1: Gothic in the Long Eighteenth Century" A. Wright & D. Townshend (Eds.) pp. 161-179. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108561044.008. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © Cambridge University Press.