"From the Female Gothic to a Feminist Theory of History: Ann Radcliffe and the Scottish Enlightenment"

JoEllen DeLucia, Joellen Mary Delucia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Instead of reading Ann Radcliffe's "female gothic" as primarily concerned with women's psychological development, this essay argues that novels such as The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) are entangled with Scottish stadial history and the theories of uneven development and non-synchronous time first articulated by Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, John Millar, as well as the poets James Macpherson and James Beattie. By examining Ann Radcliffe's use of Scottish poetry in the epigraphs of her novels, this essay uncovers her debt to the Scottish Enlightenment and its analysis of the relationship between women's social progress and economic and imperial development. Ultimately, Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho can be read as an early and important example of the relationship between feminist interrogations of temporality and progress and the theories of uneven development which would, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, shape post-colonial and Marxist theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-115
JournalThe Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation
Volume50
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2009

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