Eighteenth-Century Literature

A new series for the undergraduate classroom

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(as of August 2001)

Volume One: Clara Reeve's The Old English Baron (1778) with Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto (1764), edited by Laura L. Runge (Due September 2001)

These two short novels represent the beginning of the Gothic tradition in English literature. Reeve consciously models her fiction on Walpole's successful and original tale, but she aims to bring the marvelous elements under more reasonable tenets of verisimilitude. In keeping with the taste of the time, Reeve also emphasizes the moral virtues of her characters in a more domestic and sentimental fiction. Like other Gothic novels, Reeve's story details the mysteries of murder, crumbling castles and discovered parentage. Motifs of lust and endangered virtue are muted into strong homosocial bonding and scenes of dramatic sensibility. Paired here for the first time since the early nineteenth century, these two early Gothic novels shed light on the less recognized literary tastes of the late eighteenth century and provide interesting contrasts that illustrate the range of style encompassed by the Gothic tradition. This volume also brings to new audiences the best known novel of the once highly esteemed author, Clara Reeve.

Volume Two: Mary Wollstonecraft's Maria; Or the Wrongs of Woman with selections from William Godwin's Memoir and Gilbert Imlay's The Emigrants, edited by Cynthia Richards

Volume Three: Mary Hay's The Memoirs of Emma Courtney with Amelia Alderson Opie's Adeline Mowbray (1804), edited by Miriam Wallace

Last updated: August 3, 2001