Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ambivalent and nostalgic attitudes in selected gothic novels Madoff, Mark 1976

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1976_A1 M33.pdf [ 13.65MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0093944.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0093944-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0093944-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0093944-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0093944-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0093944-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0093944-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0093944-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0093944.ris

Full Text

AMBIVALENT AND IN  NOSTALGIC  ATTITUDES  SELECTED GOTHIC NOVELS  by  MARK SAMUEE MADOFF A.B., U n i v e r s i t y of Michigan, 1970  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of English  We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1976 (c)  Mark Samuel Madoff, 1976  In  presenting  this the$is in partial  an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e the I  Library  further  for  shall  at  the  make  agree that  it  University freely  permission  his  of  this  representatives. thesis  for  It  for  financial  gain  The  English!  of  University  of  British  2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  Date  1 O c t o b e r 1976  of  Columbia,  British for  extensive by  the  Columbia  shall  not  the  requirements  reference copying of  Head o f  is understood that  written permission.  Department  of  available  s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d  by  fulfilment  I  agree  and  be a l l o w e d  that  study.  this  thesis  my D e p a r t m e n t  copying or  for  or  publication  without  my  Research Supervisor: Professor Ian S. Ross ABSTRACT This d i s s e r t a t i o n focusses c h i e f l y on the s e n s i b i l i t y selected gothic f i c t i o n published between 1764  and 1820.  underlying A preliminary  section deals with the history of the term "gothic" from the Renaissance onwards, and i n this section and elsewhere attention i s given to the r e v i v a l of interest i n gothic architecture as affording insights for the c r i t i c of the novel.  The general emphasis of the study i s on attitudes  to postulated gothic ancestors, and how  a recreated gothic world pro-  vides either a suitable environment for discovering an i d e a l s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l system, or opportunities for exercising greater  imaginative  freedom, e s p e c i a l l y i n the treatment.of sensational or e r o t i c subjects. P o l i t i c a l thinkers of the post-Renaissance seeking an  "Ancient  Constitution," as well as antiquaries indulging a taste for medieval a r t i f a c t s , supplied a factual basis for the gothic, but i t s main a t t r a c tiveness lay i n i t s imaginative richness, novelty, and potency as a domain of a r t . gothic was  In both l i t e r a t u r e and architecture, the vogue of the  part of an innovative reaction against the apparent l i m i t s of  harmonious, decorous, r a t i o n a l , balanced a r t .  However, the  innovation  usually took a subversive d i r e c t i o n , employing f a m i l i a r forms and  atti-  tudes i n order to conceal or p a l l i a t e the strangeness of the gothic, i n order to l i n k i t with more acceptable  tastes.  This d i s s e r t a t i o n traces  the process of compromise with established styles i n the l i t e r a r y  and  a r c h i t e c t u r a l work of the f i r s t prominent gothic f a n t a s i s t , Horace Walpole, and contrasts his f i c t i o n a l techniques i n The Castle ii  of  Otranto  (1764) with those of Clara Reeve i n The Old English  Baron  (1777), i n  which the gothic world i s made an improved, p u r i f i e d version of Reeve's own  society. Two  d i s t i n c t attitudes towards the gothic developed: ambivalence  and nostalgia.  The ambivalent attitude retained much of the modern con-  tempt for the gothic while r e a l i z i n g i t s sensational p o t e n t i a l i t i e s ; i t combined amusement with a deeper source of fascination.  The nostalgic  attitude regarded the gothic world as an experimental s i t e , where conservative and r a d i c a l solutions to present problems might be imposed upon a loose h i s t o r i c a l framework. Ambivalent gothicism tended to follow an increasingly sensational l i n e , investigating the a t t r a c t i o n of e v i l and power, the p l i g h t of the victim, and the psychological accompaniments of extreme s i t u a t i o n s .  An  aesthetic basis of the art of strong sensation or terror i s outlined through reviewing Origins  the central arguments of Burke's Enquiry  of Our Ideas  of the Sublime  and Beautiful  gested that they helped to engender a controversy balance between sensationalism and decorum. of the Enquiry  and the ensuing controversy  (1757).  into  the  I t i s sug-  over the proper  The psychological theories are examined for the l i g h t  they shed on gothic f i c t i o n a l practices, and c r i t i c s ' observations  are  cited as evidence of the tensionsbetween ambivalent and nostalgic attitudes towards the gothic.  Although exoticism served both gothic  ambivalence and nostalgia, i t was  e s p e c i a l l y valuable for f a c i l i t a t i n g  the approach to sensational materials, by providing a protective degree of aesthetic distance. iii  The ambivalent attitude and the c a r e f u l e x p l o i t a t i o n of exoticism permitted  freer exploration of p a i n f u l , disturbing subjects than was  possible i n " r e a l i s t i c " f i c t i o n .  This i s documented through close  analysis of The Monk (1795) by M. G. Lewis; The Romance of the (1791), The Mysteries  of Udolpho  Forest  (1794), and The I t a l i a n (1797) by  R a d c l i f f e ; and Melmoth the Wanderer  (1820), by Charles Maturin.  Ann  It i s  shown that, while nostalgic elements occasionally intrude i n these novels, the usefulness of gothic exoticism l i e s i n the increased to concentrate  on c e r t a i n obsessive themes.  ability  Psychologically-threatening  problems of i d e n t i t y , knowledge, education, and authority often appear through monastic models, and the figure of the criminal or outcast, i s usually a sexual aggressor,  i n d i r e c t l y represents anxieties about  relations between parents and children, r u l e r s and subjects, men women.  who  and  It i s argued that the ambivalent gothic became a dark medium on  which were projected v i s i o n s of psychic d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and The novels analyzed  oppression.  sought to r e a l i z e the extraordinary crises of the  soul, while o f f e r i n g varying amounts of r e l i e f from the pressures of the anarchic forces portrayed i n  conflict.  Professor Ian S. Ross Supervisor  iv  TABLE  OF  CONTENTS  Chapter I.  II. III.  IV.  Page CLASSICAL Revisions  AND MEDIEVAL ANCESTORS: of the Past  VITALITY IN FICTION: The Mixed Mode "IMPENDING DANGERS, HIDDEN GUILT, SUPERNATURAL VISITINGS": The Sensational, the Exotic, and the Gothic  1 80  153  EROTIC DANGERS, MONASTIC TYRANNY, AND FAMILY SECRETS: Themes in the Ambivalent Gothic  191  CONCLUSION  256  BIBLIOGRAPHY  264  v  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  I wish to express my appreciation for the support and guidance I have received from my supervisor, Professor Ian S. Ross, of the Department of English, University of B r i t i s h Columbia.  The s t a f f of the McPherson Library, University of  V i c t o r i a , have given me generous assistance i n using that l i b r a r y ' s holdings.  The Canada Council has aided my  through Doctoral Fellowships, 1973-75.  vi  research  CHAPTER I  CLASSICAL AND  Revisions  MEDIEVAL ANCESTORS  of the  Past  Much of the appeal of the gothic novels began i n a b e l i e f i n the superior imaginative potency of another world, unfamiliar enough to be remote from the contemporary one.  This basic b e l i e f often took on  p o l i t i c a l , s o c i a l , a r t i s t i c , and a r c h i t e c t u r a l , as well as l i t e r a r y , forms.  For that reason, we cannot regard i t as an a r b i t r a r y , whimsical  or disconnected  phenomenon i n the h i s t o r y of taste.  In a l l areas, i t  involved a reworking of c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s to accommodate a d i f f e r e n t range of experiences, expanded.  so that the whole vocabulary of c u l t u r a l values  C r i t i c s threw down or took up models for emulation, and  examined the means by which such choices were made.  The r e s u l t was  a  r e v i s i o n of the past, at l e a s t as the past entered and influenced the English  imagination.  Terminological controversies over the gothic r e f l e c t e d the main features of that r e v i s i o n . the new  Before turning to the actual emergence of  gothic i n f i c t i o n , we  therefore need to pay attention to i t s  background, and p a r t i c u l a r l y to patterns of usage: the appearance of the word "gothic" i n various contexts, the kinds of objects or q u a l i t i e s which i t l a b e l l e d , and the complicated, the word acquired.  overlapping  connotations which  Such study of changing attitudes and practices w i l l  demonstrate the intermingling of motives for praise and blame, the -  1 -  2  ambivalence towards an e r a and vaded g o t h i c f i c t i o n .  i t s imagined c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t  per-  I t w i l l a l s o show t h a t o p i n i o n s which seemed  a e s t h e t i c , or which a r o s e i n a e s t h e t i c argument, c a r r i e d p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l o v e r t o n e s as important as t h e i r o v e r t meaning. p a r t i s a n s h i p , a l t h o u g h hard to draw e x a c t l y , must be full  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the  term."*" darily.  This i s hardly  not  brought to bear upon  surprising.  Germann and  the  secon-  F r a n k l , f o r example,  purposes of the a r c h i t e c t u r a l  a l t h o u g h most of t h e i r o b s e r v a t i o n s  go out of t h e i r way  for a  however, the l i t e r a r y g o t h i c i s t r e a t e d  w r i t e w i t h the s p e c i a l v i e w p o i n t and h i s t o r i a n , and  considered  of  o f f e r i n g d e t a i l e d accounts of  the v a r i e t y of o p i n i o n s  In many of these,  lines  novels.  There are s e v e r a l l a r g e c o m p i l a t i o n s the usage of g o t h i c and  The  or  are a c c u r a t e ,  to address the problems of f i c t i o n .  t i o n of t h e i r f i n d i n g s to the l i t e r a r y g o t h i c w i l l be  they  The  do  applica-  the c h i e f g o a l i n  the f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n . Terminological  controversy  over the g o t h i c  tended to f a l l i n t o  phases.  The  f i r s t was  Ancients  and  the Moderns i n which the p u t a t i v e b a r b a r i a n  gothic art contrasted At  a v e r s i o n of the ongoing d i s p u t e between  the  creators  u n f a v o u r a b l y , a t f i r s t , w i t h the Greeks and  the extreme of t h i s phase, g o t h i c came to be  two  closely associated  of Romans. with  2 barbarous. the f i r s t , t u r e and according  The  second phase, o f t e n c o n t a i n i n g  concentrated  the t y p i c a l arguments of  upon the a e s t h e t i c q u a l i t i e s of g o t h i c  m e d i e v a l (or Renaissance) l i t e r a t u r e , and to e s t a b l i s h e d or r e v i s e d c r i t e r i a .  The  concerned w i t h the c r e a t o r s , the second w i t h t h e i r  architec-  their  defensibility  first  phase was  creations.  more  3  Both phases of the controversy  originated with the art c r i t i c s and 3  historians of the I t a l i a n Renaissance.  I t i s f a i r l y clear why a n t i -  gothic sentiment should have developed under those circumstances: . . . u n t i l the f i f t e e n t h century the influence of a n t i quity was balanced by other influences, and no one thought of being a p u r i s t . F i l i p p o Brunelleschi's researches into c l a s s i c a l architecture . . . heralded a hardening of a t t i tudes. An absolute standard of a r t i s t i c excellence, consciously based on the authority of Greek and Roman antiquity, was proclaimed i n I t a l y . By t h i s standard a l l the a r t i s t i c monuments of the p o s t - c l a s s i c a l age, that i s , a l l the works i n the "modern" as opposed to the good antique s t y l e , were judged and condemned. . . . i t became apparent that the impure "modern" s t y l e must have been forced upon unwilling I t a l y by invaders, f i r s t by the notorious Goths and Lombards, who i n the fourth and f i f t h centuries had squatted on the wreck of Roman c i v i l i z a t i o n , and i n l a t e r centuries by their successors, the Germans.. 4 A t y p i c a l and i n f l u e n t i a l version of the I t a l i a n theory occurred i n Giorgio Vasari's Lives  of the Painters,  where he conflated the Gothic  and Germanic s t o r i e s , and made the c r u c i a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the gothic with the non-classical: There are works of another sort that are c a l l e d German, which d i f f e r greatly i n ornament and proportion from the antique and the modern. Today they are not employed by distinguished architects but are avoided by them as monstrous and barbarous, since they ignore every f a m i l i a r idea or order; which one can rather c a l l confusion and disorder, for i n their buildings, of which there are so many that they have contaminated the whole world, they made portals adorned with thin columns twisted i n corkscrew fashion (vine t e n d r i l s ) etc. . . After going on to describe these works i n greater d e t a i l , building to a crescendo of disgust at t h e i r hideousness, Vasari proposed to explain their o r i g i n : This manner was invented by the Goths, who, a f t e r the destruction of the ancient buildings and the dying out of architects because"of the wars, afterwards b u i l t . . . e d i f i c e s i n this manner: those men fashioned the vaults  4  with pointed arches of quarter c i r c l e s , and f i l l e d a l l Italy with these damnable buildings, so that their whole method has been given up, i n order not to l e t any more be b u i l t . Vasari took up this episode of mistaken building as an i n t r u s i o n into the perfect practice of the "antique" Greek and Roman a r c h i t e c t s , and as a constant warning to the "modern" architects who, a f t e r Brunell e s c h i , were trying to recover that standard of excellence. peration had i t s precedents.  His v i t u -  F i l a r e t e (Antonio Averlino) i n h i s t r e a t i s e  on architecture written between 1460 and 1464 anticipated the connection between medieval architecture and the Goths or h i s t o r i c a l barbarians.^ Although he was a partisan of the ancient manner of building and of i t s recovery i n f u l l purity, F i l a r e t e ' s references to the gente s t i l l bears more of the h i s t o r i c a l sense of barbaric certain t r i b e s ) , than of the l i t e r a r y sense barbarous debased s t y l e ) . ^ Manetti appeared into I t a l y .  barbara  (pertaining to (pertaining to a  In the l i f e of Brunelleschi attributed to Antonio the theory of the bringing of German building methods  H i s t o r i c a l l y erroneous, l i k e Vasari's l a t e r e f f o r t , this  version contained more d e t a i l and, therefore, seems more p l a u s i b l e . De Beer has summarized the theory: The Vandals, Goths, Lombards, Huns, and others, being themselves inexperienced i n building technique, used German craftsmen who had s k i l l i n these matters, and buildings were erected a l l over I t a l y i n the German manner. But when Charlemagne drove out the Lombards, and came to an understanding with the Roman p o n t i f f s , he used workmen from Rome, who though not very experienced i n p r a c t i c a l building, worked i n the manner of the Romans whose monuments they saw around them. . . . Then Charlemagne's empire was overrun by the Germans who re-introduced the German manner of building which lasted u n t i l the times of F i l i p p o Brunelleschi.g This account was more sophisticated than Vasari's, since i t included German influences and allowed for a longer time-span;  i t did not make  5  medieval a r c h i t e c t u r e the d i r e c t product of the Gothic t r i b e s . An e p i s t l e to Pope Leo X, w r i t t e n about 1518 or 1519 and a t t r i b u t e d to Raphael or a member of h i s c i r c l e , a l s o looked towards s e v e r a l of the points which would come up i n V a s a r i ' s c r i t i q u e .  The viewpoint i n t h i s  case was Roman rather than F l o r e n t i n e , but the h i s t o r i c a l view was e s s e n t i a l l y the same: a sequence of degeneration and p a r t i a l recovery of true a r t i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s .  L i k e B r u n e l l e s c h i ' s biographer, t h i s author  d i f f e r e n t i a t e d between the e a r l i e r barbarians, the Goths, Vandals and Lombards, and the Germans: . . . when Rome was overrun by the barbarians not only were the b u i l d i n g s destroyed but the a r t of a r c h i t e c t u r e i t s e l f was l o s t . With t h e i r l i b e r t y the Romans l o s t a l l genius and a r t . They broke up the b e a u t i f u l ancient b u i l d i n g s around them and from them constructed t h e i r wretched d w e l l ings. There arose a most ignorant and worthless type of a r c h i t e c t u r e , p a i n t i n g and sculpture . . . l a t e r the Germans revived the a r t of a r c h i t e c t u r e a l i t t l e , but t h e i r ornaments "furono g o f f i , e l o n t a n i s s i m i d a l l a b e l l a maniera de'Romani." The author "contrasts the b e a u t i f u l parts and proportions of a c l a s s i c a l b u i l d i n g with the i r r a t i o n a l treatment, the strange animal f i g u r e s and leaf ornaments of a 'German' e d i f i c e . history.  Here c r i t i c i s m i s combined with  I t i s evident that the author d i s l i k e s the medieval s t y l e s ;  but when he opposes the ' A r c h i t e t t u r a Romana' and ' l a Barbara' i t i s not to be assumed that he i s being merely abusive; the second term i s p r i 9 m a r i l y h i s t o r i c a l , whatever other i m p l i c a t i o n s i t may contain." among those "other i m p l i c a t i o n s " was the ranking of c u l t u r e s .  But "Barbara"  cannot be merely an h i s t o r i c a l term (as de Beer claims) at a time when the works of c l a s s i c a l a n t i q u i t y were valued so h i g h l y , at a time when n o n - c l a s s i c a l forms f a i l e d to s a t i s f y the important a r t i s t i c standards. For the whole convenience of the theory of barbarian o r i g i n s f o r the  6 gothic, i n I t a l y , l a y i n the f a c t that the barbarians were by d e f i n i t i o n o u t s i d e r s , who d i d not have the moral and i n t e l l e c t u a l a b i l i t i e s necessary f o r c i v i l i z a t i o n .  Under the influence of a r t i s t i c standards that  propose a cycle of excellence and degeneration, the former associated with n a t i v e , the l a t t e r with f o r e i g n , elements, i t becomes hard to separate a e s t h e t i c from moral judgments, the a l i e n t r i b e s from the despoilers of c u l t u r e . None of the e a r l i e r statements reached the wide c i r c u l a t i o n of Vasari's Lives,  or matched i t s i n f l u e n c e .  "No one before him had w r i t t e n  with such sardonic a s p e r i t y of medieval a r c h i t e c t u r e , and i n t h i s ...  respect  he set the tone f o r ensuing centuries. . . . V a s a r i was the f i r s t  to make the d e f i n i t i v e a s s e r t i o n that medieval a r c h i t e c t u r e (and i t i s clear from h i s d e s c r i p t i o n that he was t h i n k i n g of Gothic and not Romanesque architecture) was the invention of the Goths . . . t h i s passage i s without doubt the source from which subsequent w r i t e r s were to derive the term 'Gothic' as applied to l a t e r medieval architecture.""*"^ The I t a l i a n theory set up an opposition which was not l i m i t e d to a r c h i t e c t u r a l types.  I f the Goths and Germans had helped to s p o i l c l a s s i c a l  a r c h i t e c t u r e , that was only because they had undermined the whole c u l t u r a l and p o l i t i c a l order which produced i t . Given the conscious r e v i v a l i s m and the sense of a l o s t n a t i o n a l heritage that moved through I t a l i a n a e s t h e t i c thinking at t h i s time, such scapegoating was quite predictable.  The common idea of the Three Ages of A r t , which we have  already seen, i n s l i g h t v a r i a t i o n s , i n the L i f e of B r u n e l l e s c h i and the Pseudo-Raphael l e t t e r , encouraged blame against the barbarians and intruders.  For the Three Ages included the golden period of Greek and  7  Roman excellence, the period of decay under foreign influences, and modern attempt to reach the o r i g i n a l , i d e a l l e v e l again.  the  Neutral h i s -  t o r i c a l or s t y l i s t i c senses of gothic did not f i t with an idea of h i s t o r y i n which a r t i s t i c modes were i d e n t i f i e d with p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l forces; i n which order or c i v i l i z a t i o n opposed anarchy or non-culture."'""'"  As a  r e s u l t , gothic art must have seemed disorderly for two reasons: i t did not share any of the accepted aesthetic q u a l i t i e s , and i t s supposed originators were the d e f i l e r s of the c l a s s i c a l heritage and the bringers of p o l i t i c a l chaos. The notion of gothic disorderliness and i r r a t i o n a l i t y posed a special problem for the modern d i s c i p l e s of V i t r u v i u s . sixteenth century i n I t a l y the term ordine genere  During the  came to replace V i t r u v i u s '  i n describing c l a s s i c a l columns: hence the " c l a s s i c orders" of  architecture.  Ordine  a synonym for maniera  also occurred, with a great deal of confusion, as or opera.  Usage indicates that there was  of equality f o r the "foreign" s t y l e , for the phrase ordine  a measure  Tedesco  12 appeared frequently.  The nature of the buildings, however, made the  phrase into a paradox, c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n the d e f i n i t i o n of "Ordine Gottico" i n F i l i p p o Baldinucci's Vocabolario desegno  Toscano  dell'arte  del  (Florence: 1681): . . . the working method i n vogue under the Goths, the German manner and a kind of proportion which has nothing i n common with the f i v e good orders of Antique architecture; on the contrary, i t i s a completely barbaric fashion involving excessively slender, elongated, distorted a n d — i n every sense of the word—enervated columns, imposed one on top of the other and cluttered with small tabernacles, pyramids, projections, disruptions, l i t t l e consoles, crockets, animal carvings and t e n d r i l s , a l l one on top of the other, with no order, no rule, no proportion and no t a s t e . ^  8 G o t h i c was u n i q u e i n t h a t i t alternated way o f  in their  including it  was an order  response to i t :  without  Vitruvians  order.  some p e r s i s t e d i n e f f o r t s  to f i n d a  w i t h i n the canon, a labour which continued  the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y ;  through  o t h e r s were o c c u p i e d w i t h u s i n g the canon  condemn t h e g o t h i c a l t o g e t h e r .  Since Vitruvian doctrines,  by R e n a i s s a n c e t h e o r i s t s  and a r c h i t e c t s ,  conformity,  in restorations,  particularly  also provided  for  as  to  elaborated  stylistic  a c e r t a i n amount o f  gothic,  or  14 non-classical, great  w o r k was j u s t i f i e d .  c o n t r o v e r s y , was t h e p r o j e c t  i n Bologna, for In  the  to  generated  complete the Church of  San P e t r o n i o  w h i c h d e s i g n s were c o m m i s s i o n e d between 1521 and 1 6 0 0 .  the course of  v e r s i o n of  The k e y c a s e , w h i c h  the d i s p u t e over the proper  story  of  gothic  intrusion  d i a l e c t i c a l , and w h i c h d i s p l a y e d the d e f i n a b l e order i n the g o t h i c :  style Terribilia  i n I t a l y w h i c h was i n  same c o n c e r n f o r  produced a part  the l a c k of  a  . . . i n t h i s extremely confused s t a t e of a f f a i r s the G e r m a n s , o r t h e G o t h s a s some p e o p l e l i k e t o c a l l t h e m , c o n tinued to a c e r t a i n extent to i m i t a t e the t h i n g s that they h a d s e e n i n Rome, e s p e c i a l l y t h e C o r i n t h i a n O r d e r . They m i x e d G r e e k c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s w i t h t h e i r own a n d s o , i n t h e i r own w a y , c r e a t e d a t h i r d k i n d o f a r c h i t e c t u r e and i n t r o d u c e d t h i s i n t o I t a l y ; i t i s t h e k i n d f o u n d i n San P e t r o n i o , one w h i c h ought r e a l l y t o be d e s i g n a t e d as u n o r g a n i z e d r a t h e r than o r g a n i z e d , a l t h o u g h the f o l l o w e r s of a c e r t a i n C e s a r i a n o , a commentator on V i t r u v i u s , c l a i m t o h a v e d i s c o v e r e d i t s p r i n c i p l e s i n t r i a n g l e s . . . . But s i n c e , to the b e s t o f my k n o w l e d g e , we h a v e no s p e c i f i c r u l e s f o r t h e German o r d e r , we s h a l l h a v e t o o r g a n i z e t h i s German w o r k w i t h i n the framework of our n a t u r a l and u n i v e r s a l r u l e s a c c o r d i n g t o t h e g u i d e - l i n e s l a i d down b y V i t r u v i u s . ^ By t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y both i t s  phases, touching  the controversy over gothic  the c u l t u r a l  d e f i c i e n c i e s of  whether b e l i e v e d t o be G o t h s , Germans, S a r a c e n s , the o u t l a n d i s h q u a l i t i e s  of  their  works.  Much o f  its  continued  in  creators,  Saxons or M o o r s , and the  eighteenth-century  9  c r i t i c i s m was a throw-back to the I t a l i a n humanists' arguments, with an additional element coming from Boileau's p r i n c i p l e s of Good and Taste.  Bad  One passage which i s i n t e r e s t i n g because i t deals with l i t e r a t u r e  along with architecture comes from the t r e a t i s e on poetry and rhetoric by Johann U l r i c h Konig (1727): The so-called Nordic peoples then flooded the whole of Europe with their ignorance and with that Bad Taste which clung permanently to t h e i r descendants; this can s t i l l be recognized today from the remains, among other things, of their badly composed writings, rambling romances, immoderate passion for rhyming, clumsy monkish s c r i p t , coarsesounding speech, barbarous music, graceless costumes, badly-drawn paintings, and above a l l from t h e i r Gothic architecture..., io Kant, i n h i s Observations lime  (1764), joined those who  on the Feeling  of the Beautiful  and Sub-  believed that a l l things which offended  against Reason, Nature and Propriety were gothic, or similar to gothic. His h i s t o r y of a r t i s t i c development resembled the I t a l i a n account, with reference to the Three Ages and a scheme which included general c u l t u r a l values. In his encyclopedia of the a r t s , the Allgemeine Kunste  Theorie  der  schonen  (17 7«l-r74) , which was widely known among German n e o - c l a s s i c i s t s , f  J. G. Sulzer turned back to Boileau for h i s vocabulary. gothic was  For Sulzer  synonymous with Bad Taste and he applied i t to works regard-  less of the exact generic, regional or h i s t o r i c a l category i n which they belonged;  gothic was  a c a t c h - a l l l a b e l of derogation.  Sulzer also applied  the term "to a l l nations which engage i n c u l t u r a l pursuits before their taste has been adequately formed. very l i k e parvenu,  Thus Gothic comes to mean something  and one can t a l k of Gothic behaviour as well as Gothic  art. . . . S u l z e r  even perpetuated the h i s t o r i c a l misconceptions  of  10  Vasari, for he believed that the term gothic "originated i n the clumsy imitations of ancient architecture perpetrated by the Goths who settled in Italy."  He conceded that gothic works were "lacking not i n e s s e n t i a l  q u a l i t i e s , nor even always i n greatness and splendour, but i n beauty, charm, and delicacy."  The Goths had made a travesty of the mimetic  process i n a r t , having no clear idea of their subjects or their means of imitation.  It was  obvious to Sulzer why  their works seemed so grotesque,  and equally obvious that such grotesquery was incompetence not  inadvertent, the r e s u l t of  design.  Sulzer also took a clue from Shaftesbury's theories of taste and personality i n associating aesthetic with moral judgments.  He emphasized  the causal l i n k between a people's art and their s p i r i t u a l  well-being.  Since gothic art was  defective i n most important aesthetic areas, a taste  for i t did not bode well for a person's general mental balance, and such a taste m u l t i p l i e d meant that society i t s e l f had become debased.  Although  the objects of contempt changed, the German o r g a n i c i s t s , Pugin and Ruskin a l l followed a similar l i n e of argument. The two phases of the controversy  over the gothic were e a s i l y mixed  so that, where arguments from aesthetic p r i n c i p l e s f a i l e d , they could be turned with no great degree of subtlety into ad hominem arguments instead. Vasari had begun this strategy by moving away from a detailed, i f mistaken, c r i t i q u e of gothic aesthetics, and towards the barbarous origins of the art and the barbarous character of i t s defenders. eighteenth-century  procedure was  The  a l i t t l e more sophisticated.  William Whitehead, writing i n The World  usual For example,  (No. 12, 1753), neatly associated  a taste for the gothic with disturbing p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l events:  11  This, however odd i t might seem, and however unworthy the name of Taste, was cultivated, was admired, and s t i l l has i t s professors i n d i f f e r e n t parts of England. There i s something i n i t , they say, congenial to our old Gothic constitution; I should rather think, to our modern idea of l i b e r t y , which allows everyone the p r i v i l e g e of playing the f o o l , and of making himself r i d i c u l o u s i n whatever way he pleases.-^g In The Goths in England  Kliger takes up the obverse side of White-  head's accusation, and looks for the p o s i t i v e p o l i t i c a l uses of the word gothic.  According to Kliger, "the term. 'Gothic' came into extensive use  i n the seventeenth century as an epithet employed by the Parliamentary leaders to defend the prerogatives of Parliament against the pretensions of the King to absolute right to govern England."  The search for prece-  dents for this resistance stimulated a considerable antiquarian movement i n England.  The antiquarians of the Parliamentary party believed that  the Goths, by whom they meant the ancestral Germanic peoples, had "founded the i n s t i t u t i o n s of public assemblies which, i n i t s [sic] English p a r l i a mentary form, the Stuarts were seeking to destroy."  By careful reworking  of the depictions of northern tribes by Tacitus, Jordanes and Saint Augustine, the p o l i t i c a l researchers manufactured the support they needed: "The analysis of Gothic character found i n these early texts described the Goths as a Teutonic folk to whom p o l i t i c a l l i b e r t y was dear.  Further-  more, the early texts offered a q u a s i - s c i e n t i f i c explanation of the Gothic propensity for l i b e r t y i n a theory of climatic influence on character . . . the f r i g i d temperature of the Gothic habitat i n the northern regions was the physiological factor explaining Gothic vigor, hardiness, and zeal for 19 liberty."  Mingled with this reconstruction was the doctrine of gothic  moral and i n t e l l e c t u a l superiority, the "translatio  imperii  ad  Teutonicos,"  which had' been promulgated i n the north since the Protestant Reformation,  12  and which connected the gothic with enlightenment, through an opposition of r a c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : "the triumph of Gothic humanity, honor, and s i m p l i c i t y over invertebrate Roman urbanism, effeminacy, and luxury. The Gothicists pictured . . . a world rejuvenation or r e b i r t h due to the triumph of Gothic energy and moral purity over Roman torpor and depravity." Kliger i s f a i r l y cautious, however, about forming connections between p o l i t i c a l and aesthetic attitudes.  Although he argues that the i d e a l i -  zation of ancient Gothic l i b e r t y was e s s e n t i a l l y a whiggish exercise i n creating h i s t o r i c a l precedents, he denies any firm l i n k between p o l i t i c a l Whiggery and admiration  for gothic architecture.  Addison, who was a Whig,  disapproved strongly of gothic architecture, while Horace Walpole, also a Whig, moved through avid approval, lesser enthusiasm, and occasional disapproval during his long career as connoisseur. admit that the favourable, ethnic connotation  Kliger also has to  of gothic did not overcome  the unfavourable ones i n practice, and that the favourable  sense was not  "the main or even important cause of the actual building of Gothic structures."  But he does go so far as to claim that "an association had been  formed i n some eighteenth-century  minds between Whig p r i n c i p l e s of'popular  government and the freedom from n e o - c l a s s i c a l r e s t r a i n t s displayed i n the Gothic building; per contra,  from the opposing Tory point of view, the  symmetry and balance of the Grecian b u i l d i n g apotheosized the Tory aim of maintaining  national s t a b i l i t y through vested a r i s t o c r a t i c interest 21  and a strong monarchy." Lovejoy suggests a quite d i f f e r e n t use of gothic, as a s l u r : It performed much the same necessary function that, i n cert a i n c i r c l e s , the adjective " V i c t o r i a n " performs today. . . . The term also took on a c e r t a i n p o l i t i c a l coloring; since i t  13  not only vaguely suggested "the old-fashioned" i n general, but, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , t h e p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l system of the Middle Ages, i . e . , feudalism, i t sometimes served the progressives of the period as an unpleasant way of r e f e r ring to anything the Tories approved. . . . ^ Unlike K l i g e r , Lovejoy proposes that the Whigs applied the l a b e l gothic not to themselves or to the ancestral supporters cause, but to the Tory establishment,  of their  parliamentary  whenever they wanted to set forth  i t s regressive tendencies or to r a i s e the spectre of tyranny restored. These partisan uses of the gothic seem contradictory only because they were part of the larger contradictions that had arisen i n attitudes towards ancestors and towards the value i n aesthetic argument of various kinds of t r a d i t i o n a l authority.  There were Goths of the l e f t and r i g h t ,  self-proclaimed Goths and r i d i c u l e d Goths because the values of the medieval and c l a s s i c a l heritages were f l u c t u a t i n g . two main c u l t u r a l dispensations was of a new  gothicism.  Kliger presents  p o l a r i t i e s , nature and reason,  The c o n f l i c t between the  the c e n t r a l fact behind the emergence the opposition i n terms of f a m i l i a r  but i t i s . p l a i n from the evidence of his  examples that a case could be made for both properties belonging traditions.  Lovejoy concentrates  to both  instead on a succession of "returns to  Nature," each of which represents a reaction against some previous l a t i o n of what constitutes the "natural" i n a r t . gothic or to any of the other new  formu-  The reaction to the  tastes, such as the taste for the  rococo, the Chinese, or the Egyptian, with which the gothic often  was  associated depended on the aesthetic q u a l i t i e s they were thought to embody and on the current l i m i t s of the notion of c r e a t i v i t y . Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century various and undiscriminating;  uses of the word gothic were  consequently, any attempt to determine what  14  kinds of objects were considered gothic must aim to be exhaustive than d e f i n i t i v e .  rather  Aside from the m u l t i p l i c i t y of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l  purposes which gothic could advance, a factor which contributed to this d i v e r s i t y was the v a r i e t y of theories for the "invention" of the medieval styles. In trying to sort out the meaning of the gothic, Lovejoy has noted three common patterns of usage.  In the f i r s t , any structure which did  not s a t i s f y n e o - c l a s s i c a l norms was called, gothic.  Thus, we have the  statement i n Dryden's t r a n s l a t i o n of Dufresnoy (1693): " A l l that i s not in the ancient gust i s called a barbarous or Gothic manner." S i m i l a r l y , Batty Langley, i n Ancient  Architecture  Restored  and Improved,  etc. (1742),  asserted that: "Every ancient building which i s not i n the Grecian mode 23 i s called a Gothic b u i l d i n g . " The second pattern of usage was more limited but equally inaccurate. This was the application of the l a b e l gothic to works which would now be called Romanesque.  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Romanesque was the style that  was a c t u a l l y believed, i n I t a l y at l e a s t , to be of Gothic o r i g i n ; the l a t e r "pointed" s t y l e was more l i k e l y to be thought German or Saracenic. The t h i r d pattern was exemplified i n John Evelyn's Account tects  and Architecture  A Parallel  of  Archi-  which was prefixed to his e d i t i o n of Freart's  of the Ancient  Architecture  with the Modern  (1697).  Evelyn  adhered to the recent theory of the double genesis of "modern" a r c h i t e c ture, regarding the Goths and Vandals, and the Moors and Arabs, as originators of what he called "a c e r t a i n f a n t a s t i c a l and l i c e n t i o u s Manner of Building."  He lumped together and thoroughly  confused the  Romanesque or Norman "heavy" style with the l a t e r pointed style which  15  Wren would c a l l Saracenic tion") .  (that l a b e l also expressing a theory of  "inven-  Early and l a t e medieval buildings, buildings overly heavy,  ponderous, gloomy and overly l i g h t , f r i v o l o u s , airy were condemned under 24 the same rubric and given the same designation, gothic.  For  Evelyn  and his contemporaries, gothic referred to a l l a r c h i t e c t u r a l excesses. It did not matter much i f those excesses resulted from diametrically opposite causes. F a i l u r e to discriminate c a r e f u l l y among styles was common with c r i t i c s of the gothic. one among several subversive new  understandably  Since they saw the gothic as merely  tastes they were u n l i k e l y to look into  i t s f i n e r d i v i s i o n s . Moreover, ignorance of an ignorant s t y l e was  a form  of protection against i t s e f f e c t s .  So gothic was  Chinese and Egyptian as an aberrant  species, and the same objections  often were l a i d against a l l . by the modern supporters  placed with rococo,  This muddling of types was  also encouraged  and builders of non-classical architecture, who  f e l t no reluctance i n introducing a mixture of elements into their 25 designs, producing strange, and not e s p e c i a l l y vigorous, The c r i t i c s ' main target was thirteenth to f i f t e e n t h century. may  hybrids.  the Saracenic or modern gothic of the Their s i n g l i n g out of the  Saracenic  have begun i n "a v a l i d aesthetic reaction against the excesses of  the English Late Perpendicular  and the French Flamboyant s t y l e s ; but  the  attributes found i n an extreme form i n these were commonly ascribed to 26 'modern Gothic' as a whole." Among those a t t r i b u t e s were lack of formal explicitness or r a t i o n a l i t y , and over-ornamentation, e s p e c i a l l y 27 where there was  no functional or s t r u c t u r a l need.  The standards for  judging such d e f i c i e n c i e s were sometimes translated into magnitude  and  16 immediacy  of impression.  For example, i n Spectator  No. 415, one of the  series on "The Pleasures of the Imagination," Addison contrasted the effects of a c l a s s i c a l and a gothic building upon the  beholder:  Let any one r e f l e c t on the Disposition of Mind he finds i n himself, at his f i r s t Entrance into the Pantheon at Rome, and how his Imagination i s f i l l e d with something Great and Amazing; and, at the same time, consider how l i t t l e , i n proportion, he i s affected with the Inside of a Gothick Cathedral, tho' i t be f i v e times larger than the other; which can arise from nothing else, but the Greatness of Manner i n the one, and the Meanness i n the other. Addison borrowed a psychological explanation of this contrast from Freart's P a r a l l e l , which made i t clear that "Meanness of Manner" resulted from the d i s t r a c t i o n caused by superfluous, t r i v i a l d e t a i l s : I am observing . . . a thing which, i n my Opinion, i s very curious, whence i t proceeds, that i n the same quantity of Superficies, the one Manner seems great and magnificent, and the other poor and t r i f l i n g ; the Reason i s f i n e and uncommon . . . to introduce into Architecture this Grandeur of Manner, we ought so to proceed, that the D i v i s i o n of the P r i n c i p a l Members of the Order may consist but of few Parts, that they be a l l great and of a bold and ample Relievo, and Swelling; and that the Eye, beholding nothing l i t t l e and mean, the Imagination may be more vigorously touched and affected with the Work that stands before i t . . . i f we see none of that ordinary Confusion which i s the Result of those l i t t l e c a v i t i e s , Quarter Rounds of the Astragal, and I know not how many other intermingled P a r t i c u l a r s , which produce no effect i n great and massy Works, and which very unprofitably take up Place to the prejudice of the P r i n c i p a l Member, i t i s most c e r t a i n that t h i s Manner w i l l appear Solemn and Great; as on the contrary, that w i l l have but a poor and mean E f f e c t , where there i s a Redundancy of those smaller Ornaments, which divide and scatter the Angles of the Sight into such a Multitude of Rays, so pressed together that the whole w i l l appear but a Confusion.^ When we penetrate this pseudo-psychological  language we see that  Addison was describing the f a i l u r e of the gothic to concentrate effects.  its  The combination of v a r i e t y and disorder produced what Montes-  quieu c a l l e d "a sort of enigma."  29  Addison found such obscurity a  17 b a r r i e r to strong impressions. Addison brought this observation to bear on l i t e r a r y matters as well.  In Spectator  No. 62 he had proposed three categories of wit  (poetical composition): true,  false,  i n "the Resemblance of Ideas," was  and "mixt."  True Wit, consisting  superior because i t manipulated  the  simple elements of natute and avoided the t r i v i a l , the accidental and the s u p e r f i c i a l ; therefore, i t came closer to serving the mimetic purpose of poetry.  In contrast, under False Wit Addison grouped a l l sorts of i d l e  word-play, including puns, anagrams, a c r o s t i c s , puzzles, r i d d l e s , and doggerel rhyme.  figure-poems,  Mixt Wit, partaking of both kinds, gave  Addison occasion to attack the unrestrained working of fancy  i n poetry,  and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , the legacy of excess and whimsical imagination l e f t by the Metaphysical poets. It becomes p l a i n , as Addison's arugment f i l l s out, that by True Wit he meant to encompass the essential properties of good poetry.  Comparing  the degrees of poetic sophistication, Addison made use of a suggestive a r c h i t e c t u r a l analogy: This i s that natural Way of Writing, that b e a u t i f u l Simplic i t y , which we so much admire i n the Compositions of the Ancients; and which no Body deviates from, but those who want Strength of Genius to make a Thought shine i n i t s own natural Beauties. Poets who want this strength of Genius to give that Majestick Simplicity to Nature, which we so much admire i n the Works of the Ancients, are forced to hunt after foreign Ornaments, and not to l e t any Piece of Wit of what kind soever escape them. I look upon these Writers as Goths i n poetry, who, l i k e those i n Architecture, not being able to come up to the b e a u t i f u l Simplicity of the old Greeks and Romans, have endeavoured to supply i t s place with a l l the Extravagances of an irregular Fancy . . . the Taste of most of our English Poets, as well as Readers, i s extremely Gothick.^ Addison's  comparison contained t y p i c a l ahti-gothic complaints.  With  18  his emphasis on " S i m p l i c i t y " and "natural Beauties," he pointed out that the gothic not only f a i l e d to concentrate conform  to nature.  its effects  but also f a i l e d to  These shortcomings were c l o s e l y connected.  The lack  of formal or technical d i s c i p l i n e i n either gothic buildings or gothic poetry was a sign of their creators' carelessness and ignorance: Goths were those who would not recognize  that imitation of nature was the  proper end of art, or who could not achieve such imitation.  Mechanically,  rather than e s s e n t i a l l y , related elements were the materials for Addison's False and Mixt Wit; the patterns of nature, definable by u n i v e r s a l l y v a l i d rules, were replaced i n this i n f e r i o r sort of writing by the accidental quirks of language. Simplicity referred not only to the obviousness or truth-to-nature of a building or poem but also to the means of i t s creation, and the remaining, v i s i b l e signs of i t s creation.  In Addison's c r i t i c a l vocabu-  l a r y , gothic came to mean something l i k e a r t i f i c i a l or contrived.  The  hallmark of art was supposed to be i t s apparent effortlessness of execut i o n , i t s blending of f a c i l i t y with genius.  In contrast, the elaborate-  ness of the gothic, whether i n a "Saracenic" abbey or a vapid poetic conceit, indicated laboriousness, a s t r i v i n g a f t e r the spectacular, the unusual, when the natural could not be.achieved.  The gothic was unaccept-  able i n art because i t c a l l e d f o r t h unbridled energies i n the a r t i s t , and required them from the beholder, wasting them i n unnecessary exercises and fancies.  In architecture, gothic continued  to designate a l l types of  non-classical buildings, from Saxon to Tudor, as various schemes f o r c l a s s i f y i n g them were t r i e d out; Addison's l i t e r a r y usage, however, was an example of a general sense of the term gothic which was neither  19 h i s t o r i c a l ( i . e . , gothic means medieval) nor generic romantic).  ( i . e . , gothic means  In this sense, gothic stood as a c a t c h - a l l term for the  undisciplined, ignorant, formally extravagant a r t which obtruded upon the modern taste. Another common source of objection to the gothic was i t s apparent lack of symmetry. t e c t u r a l defect.  And again there were l i t e r a r y analogues of the a r c h i Like over-ornamentation or s u p e r f i c i a l i t y , t h i s short-  coming was believed to originate i n a f a i l u r e of mimesis. inherently symmetrical as well as simple and d i s t i n c t .  Nature was  Symmetry, how-  ever, had more to do with unity of t o t a l e f f e c t than with b i l a t e r a l duplication.  The a r t i s t ' s objective was to ensure immediate understand-  ing of h i s work, and this required consistency i n the r e l a t i o n s of components and i n their composition as a whole.  "The demand f o r symmetry  i n architecture . . . expressed the same fundamental psychological  theory  as the insistence upon the u n i t i e s i n the drama and the disapproval of the mixture of genres.  B i l a t e r a l r e p e t i t i o n . . . was merely one of the 31  p r i n c i p a l means of producing this singleness of e f f e c t . . . . " tediousness  Since  and obscurity were negative q u a l i t i e s i n a r t ( u n t i l Sterne  and Burke, r e s p e c t i v e l y ) , i t was proper f o r the a r t i s t to remove d i s tractions which might i n t e r f e r e with an almost automatic recognition of s i g n i f i c a n t form. An issue c l o s e l y related to gothic asymmetry was r e g u l a r i t y , observance of the laws of mathematical proportion.  I f symmetry was a recog-  nizable aesthetic q u a l i t y , r e g u l a r i t y was the basis for that quality i n geometry (or, i n the case of poetry, i n technical r u l e s ) .  That a b u i l d -  ing was regular meant that i t accorded with the "uniform and exact  20  mathematical rules of proportion, such as had been l a i d down by V i t r u 32 vius."  Concern for mathematically demonstrable r e g u l a r i t y had grown  for several reasons: the need to provide p r a c t i c a l guidance i n construction to builders who were not engineers,  the need to give t h e o r e t i c a l  j u s t i f i c a t i o n for the elaborate neo-Vitruvian scheme of a r c h i t e c t u r a l "characters," the need to reduce human a r t i f i c e and natural object a l i k e to f i r s t p r i n c i p l e s — w h i c h were assumed to be mathematical. Vitruvian term ordine  Since the  had been interpreted as a q u a l i t a t i v e , as well as  generic, measure which could be used to deprecate the gothic as an "order without order," i t was natural that any mathematical demonstration would prove the e s s e n t i a l i n f e r i o r i t y of gothic design and proportion; u n t i l the middle of the eighteenth century, there was no separate dard of gothic  stan-  mathematical proportion.  Ignorance of the history of medieval building and i t s techniques encouraged the b e l i e f that the gothic was irregular and asymmetrical. Modern c r i t i c s who had made no active study of such projects did not r e a l i z e that both r e g u l a r i t y and symmetry were important considerations i n the drawing of the o r i g i n a l plans for cathedrals, churches, abbeys, and manor-houses.  They did not suspect that most of the features that  they cited i n t h e i r accusations against the gothic were, i n f a c t , the result of accidents and the gradual way i n which the building had taken place; they were not i d e n t i f y i n g , as they often thought, the outlandish c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of some medieval system of aesthetics.  Since the e a r l i -  est medieval monuments s t i l l standing i n England i n the eighteenth century were the products of centuries of sporadic work, destruction of partly f i n i s h e d sections, and natural decay, i t was hardly possible to  21 speak of "the a r c h i t e c t " of any such project.  It was  l i k e l y that o r i g -  i n a l intentions would have been ignored by succeeding generations of builders, that the f i r s t conception would have been muddled. In order to take h i s t o r i c a l factors into account  eighteenth-century  c r i t i c s needed access to medieval building records, plans, proposals and lists.  E s p e c i a l l y i n England, however, where the d i s s o l u t i o n of the  monasteries  and other r e l i g i o u s i n s t i t u t i o n s had dispersed their c o l l e c -  tions and l i b r a r i e s , those materials were not r e a d i l y available.  But i t  i s doubtful whether many c r i t i c s would have f e l t any d i f f e r e n t l y toward the gothic even i f they had been able to look into such documents, and had been moved to do so.  They s t i l l could have attacked gothic art for  i t s haphazard execution and casual composition—for the results i f not the intentions.  It was an inescapable aesthetic observation: i n i t s  e f f e c t s , the gothic lacked symmetry and r e g u l a r i t y .  The antiquaries  provided h i s t o r i c a l evidence which did not f i t comfortably with neoc l a s s i c a l assumptions—and not a l l antiquaries' tastes were changed by the evidence. Other reasons for d i s l i k e of the gothic included "a physical d i s taste f o r the angular and pointed. . . . The spikiness of G o t h i c — t h e i n f i n i t e r e p e t i t i o n of the pointed form i n spikes, t u r r e t s , pinnacles, arches, doors, and windows—made the eighteenth-century observer f e e l  33 p o s i t i v e l y uncomfortable."  One such observer was Goethe, who  spoke of  expecting Strasbourg Munster, which inspired h i s phase of admiration for the gothic, to appear as a "malformed b r i s t l y monster"; this s e n s i t i v i t y to gothic monstrosity was a t y p i c a l , not an exaggerated,  response.  22  Both Lovejoy and Robson-Scott also take note of the argument universal  acceptability,  from  according to which the true test of the l e g i t i -  34 macy of an a r t i s t i c mode was  i t s acceptance among c i v i l i z e d  peoples.  Since there were various ways of c a l c u l a t i n g the degree of acceptance, the argument was i t was  l i a b l e to be quite hard to pin down with p a r t i c u l a r s ;  adopted, i f at a l l , without regard to the evidence of European  a r c h i t e c t u r a l h i s t o r y — a n d recent a b i l i t y now may  h i s t o r y at that.  Universal accept-  seem as i f i t should be a s t a t i s t i c a l notion, because we  are more accustomed to looking for s t a t i s t i c a l universes; i n the  eighteenth  century the concept defined a much more limited universe of believers i n the c l a s s i c a l r u l e s , the established c r i t e r i a of excellence. a c c e p t a b i l i t y was  Universal  i n fact a disguise f o r the process by which a c u l t u r a l  community selected and i d e n t i f i e d i t s members.  The whole argument must  have derived some of i t s force from the enduring b e l i e f i n the Three Ages of Art: the opinions of the "barbarians" of the middle age were obviously much less important than the examples of the f i r s t , c l a s s i c a l age and aspirations of the l a t e s t  the  age.  Lovejoy does not find that the argument was very i n f l u e n t i a l as a way  of attacking the gothic, although the a l l i e d idea of u n i v e r s a l l y  v a l i d aesthetic standards was  the basis for much anti-gothic c r i t i c i s m .  Lovejoy has offered the explanation that the argument originated i n confusion over the meaning of " c l a s s i c . " Warton's Verses  on Sir Joshua  contends that two connotations  Reynolds's  C i t i n g the example of Thomas Painted  Window (1782), Lovejoy  of c l a s s i c often were mixed: one was  sense of "universal a c c e p t a b i l i t y " ; the other, of Palladian current vogue i n c l a s s i c a l architecture.  The gothic was  the  s t y l e , the c e r t a i n l y not  23  the l a t t e r , but that did not necessarily prevent i t from being c l a s s i c i n the former sense.  Within the rationale of the new gothicism, i t was  a point i n favour of both a r c h i t e c t u r a l and l i t e r a r y gothic that they were " c l a s s i c " English  modes.  The controversy over the gothic was a defensive action.  Opponents  of gothic art were not only interested i n deriding i t s flaws; they were sensitive to those flaws because they believed i n some other system, whether the superiority of Palladian architecture or the propriety of the dramatic u n i t i e s , and they strove to defend that system against the encroachment of i n f e r i o r alternatives.  At the same time they were enforc-  ing the rules f o r s o c i a l standing, taste and knowledgeability.  I t was  natural that the range of objects considered gothic should be very wide, including not only buildings and l i t e r a r y works but also various kinds of p o l i t i c a l opinion, p o l i t i c a l action, and s o c i a l behaviour--in general, the outre.  I t i s easy to see why the terminological controversy was so  often inconclusive, when i t s terms of reference were as i l l - d e f i n e d as any i n seventeenth- or eighteenth-century c r i t i c a l discourse.  The pre-  judices which ascribed outlandish origins to medieval a r t , which caused the term gothic to s i g n i f y , on the l e v e l of ordinary usage, something l i k e "barbarous" or "ignorant," added a tone of personal acrimony to the dispute over styles and values. The controversy over the gothic was r e s t r i c t e d i n i t s d i s t r i b u t i o n because of differences i n class interests and regional practices.  An  important factor was the gap between t r a d i t i o n a l craftsmanship and the realm of aesthetic disputes.  I t was not u n t i l the middle of the seven-  teenth century that a concept of competing s t y l e s , a necessary idea for  24  the  m a l i g n i n g of. the g o t h i c , was  the  impact of t h a t concept was  e s t a b l i s h e d i n England,"'"' and even  g r e a t e r on one c l a s s of b u i l d e r s  then  than  another. For men i n the North the d i f f e r e n c e between Renaissance and m e d i e v a l o n l y became c l e a r when pure Renaissance b u i l d i n g s were b u i l t t h e r e ; up t i l l then E n g l i s h a r c h i t e c t u r e was a m i x t u r e of both s t y l e s , but accepted as c l a s s i c a l . The d i f f e r e n c e between these b u i l d i n g s and G o t h i c was not v e r y g r e a t and was not r e a l l y a p p r e c i a t e d . Only when I n i g o Jones was b u i l d i n g , d i d i t become c l e a r t h a t the I t a l i a n a t e was r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the G o t h i c and t h a t t h e r e were i n f a c t two styles.„, JO  T h i s r e l a t i v e l y l a t e i n t r o d u c t i o n of s t y l i s t i c d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n  into  England f i n a l l y gave r i s e to a sense of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the n a t i v e , hybrid style.  B u i l d e r s and p a t r o n s who  knew the " b e t t e r " s t y l e began to  p e r c e i v e the customary manner as v u l g a r and debased. Even a f t e r the  >  t h i s i n f i l t r a t i o n of n e o - c l a s s i c a l d i s t a s t e , a b e l i e f i n  s u i t a b i l i t y , indeed the d e s i r a b i l i t y , of n a t i v e d e s i g n and  technique  persisted: In c o u n t r y d i s t r i c t s w i t h p l e n t y of n a t u r a l m a t e r i a l s and a s t r o n g l o c a l t r a d i t i o n , domestic a r c h i t e c t u r e remained untouched by I t a l i a n i n f l u e n c e s even i n the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y . . . . Barns and farm b u i l d i n g s were s t i l l r o o f e d and b u t t r e s s e d i n the G o t h i c way; and c o u n t r y workmen f o l lowed Pugin's True P r i n c i p l e s w i t h a n a t u r a l n e s s which he p r a i s e d but c o u l d never a t t a i n . While m e d i e v a l ornament was e n j o y i n g i t s modish r e v i v a l i n the town, m e d i e v a l cons t r u c t i o n l i v e d an unassuming c o u n t r y l i f e , and Walpole l i t t l e suspected t h a t the average barn was more t r u l y G o t h i c than h i s b e p i n n a c l e d S t r a w b e r r y . ^ 7  Here C l a r k p r e s e n t s the main c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t r a d i t i o n a l  gothic  b u i l d i n g as i t c o n t i n u e d i n t o the e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y : i t s d i s t r i b u t i o n o u t s i d e f a s h i o n a b l e c i r c l e s , i t s use i n mundane, f u n c t i o n a l its  emphasis upon proven p r a c t i c e s , and  i t s naivete.  situations,  Some f u r t h e r  i f i c a t i o n s make the account of t h i s s u r v i v a l i s m more a c c u r a t e .  qual-  Gothic  25  s u r v i v a l was more a p r o v i n c i a l than a s t r i c t l y r u r a l phenomenon. was  Gothic  used for e c c l e s i a s t i c a l and c o l l e g i a t e work, i n accord with the  generally accepted practice of conforming to the manner of existing 38 structures.  The occurrence of survivalism also varied with the r e l a -  t i v e power and influence of stonemasons, builders, and architects among 39 the construction  trades.  Controversy over the gothic was builders.  quite irrelevant to the t r a d i t i o n a l  The nature of the work they usually did and t h e i r limited  opportunities  for t r a v e l and a r c h i t e c t u r a l education insulated them from  the issues under dispute.  I f , as Clark and Colvin have indicated, the  t r a d i t i o n a l builders did most of t h e i r work either restoring and ing churches, or constructing  farm and domestic buildings, they were  unlikely to have the chance to employ alternatives to the hybrid style—had  complet-  alternatives been available to them.  gothic  Moreover, their con-  tracts and contacts would have been with townspeople, merchants, parsons, yeomen farmers, and the lesser gentry, among whom a r c h i t e c t u r a l controversies and  the changes of fashion were either unimportant or  imperfectly  understood.  Their involvement with such matters was  at best delayed or  derivative.  Builders, craftsmen, and most of their patrons did not have  the resources to undertake the Grand Tour, which had promoted the growth  40 of the neo-classical taste i n England.  Their exposure to the p r i n c i p l e s  of neo-classical design came through academic s t u d y — i f their fortune  or  talent allowed i t — o r through association with the higher l e v e l of b u i l d ing practice, such as the Board of Trade where Wren and his pupils were employed.  As a r e s u l t of these factors, a more or less passive advocacy  of the gothic continued unaffected  by the c r i t i c a l disputes  or the  26  preoccupation of connoisseurs and amateurs.  On the other hand, this  kind of t r a d i t i o n a l i s m gave l i t t l e d i r e c t i o n to the s h i f t s i n fashionable taste that eventually defined the v a l i d , native, gothic style i n a pseudo-historical way. Before a taste for medieval things could reassert i t s e l f i n the eighteenth century, two new ideas had to gain a place: a sense of the 41 novelty of medieval a r t and l i t e r a t u r e , and a sense of their i d e n t i t y . The l a t t e r would be i n f l u e n t i a l only imperfectly and i n d i r e c t l y , but neither sense was to be found at the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s ' l e v e l .  Given  their persistence i n using the hybrid gothic mode, their usual lack of formal academic t r a i n i n g , their ignorance of a r c h i t e c t u r a l h i s t o r y and theory, their i s o l a t i o n and reliance on l o c a l design models, i t was unlikely that t r a d i t i o n a l i s t builders would be a source for 42  understanding  the complexities and c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s of medieval a r t .  In addition,  since they treated the gothic as the natural, indigenous  style,  capable  of successfully assimilating the i n t r u s i v e Renaissance s t y l e s , they would not have seen the gothic, at the same time, as merely one style gothic  among those available. as "the style  T r a d i t i o n a l i s t builders thought  in which one  optional  of the  builds."  For the same reasons, they did not produce a sense of the gothic as something novel or exotic; after a l l , they had been using i t continuously well into the eighteenth century.  The r e v i v a l i s t s drew that sense from  a set of c u l t u r a l and h i s t o r i c a l associations from which the t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s were far removed, i f only by their pedestrian, commonplace practice of unspectacular imitation.  27  The sense of the novelty of gothic was more important f o r the r e v i v a l of gothic architecture and the creation of gothic f i c t i o n ; however, the development of that sense was encouraged by h i s t o r i c a l , as well as aesthetic or fantastic, i n t e r e s t s .  Paradoxically, much of the  encouragement came from English antiquaries, who were immediately concerned not with the novelty  of medieval art but with the process of 43  identifying  and d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g i t s elements.  This was the i n d i r e c t  way i n which a sense of the i d e n t i t y of gothic contributed to the new l i t e r a r y gothicism—although imperfect  the l i t e r a r y goths themselyeshhad.only an  sense of that i d e n t i t y .  The d i s s o l u t i o n of the English monasteries and the dispersal or decay of their holdings stimulated antiquarian a c t i v i t y early date.  The antiquary John Leland  i n England at an  (1506?-1552) made a place f o r  a r c h i t e c t u r a l a n t i q u i t i e s i n the history of B r i t a i n which he was planning, and which f i n a l l y appeared as the De Antiquitate  Britannica  Thomas Hearne between 1710 and 1712. The Britannica  published by  of William Camden  (1551-1623) included even more a r c h i t e c t u r a l materials; i n Camden's time the Elizabethan Society of Antiquaries was formed, with the purpose of gathering records and a n t i q u i t i e s back to the Roman occupation. At the same time there developed considerable i n t e r e s t i n church documents, frequently written i n Anglo-Saxon, and hence an interest i n Anglo-Saxon language and grammar. This concern with language and with l e g a l and c l e r i c a l documents led to an interest i n mediaeval church h i s t o r y and eventually to the publication of the Monasticon Anglicanum with Hollar's i l l u s t r a t i o n s ; thus the English public could from 1655 on contemplate reproductions of English architecture, much of i t Gothic, a l l of i t mediaeval. No other country could boast a similar p u b l i c a t i o n . ^ The antiquaries' subject matter was not limited to gothic or medieval a r t i f a c t s .  Antiquaries were by no means u n i v e r s a l l y convinced of  28 the value of the gothic.  In 1736, for example, S i r John Clerk berated  Roger Gale for the misplaced l o y a l t i e s of the members of the Society of Antiquaries: "I am sorry to find that Gothicism Society.  p r e v a i l s so much i n your  If your Antiquarians won't entertain a just opinion of i t ,  they won't believe i t to be only the degeneracy of Greek and Roman Arts and Sciences. and  In this view I myself have admired the laborious  Dullness  Stupidity which appear i n a l l the Gothick contrivances of any kind.  These Barbarians  had the o r i g i n a l s i n perfection and yet could discover  no beauties for their imitation, but Goths w i l l always have a Gothick 45 taste."  Even William Stukeley, the most prominent antiquary of the  early eighteenth century, belonged to the Society of Roman Knights at the same time as he was secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, and spoke of "the abominable superstitions of the cloyster'd nuns and f r y e r s " 46 and the harm they had done to the c l a s s i c a l heritage. marked that "the men of the eighteenth  century..  Frankl has r e -  . . took their love for  two d i f f e r e n t styles as a sign of indecision and had to excuse them47 selves."  Ambivalence was bound to a f f e c t the antiquaries' judgment  whenever they had to deal with preference between s t y l e s , instead of investigation and description.  And such questions of preference  inevi-  tably came up, i n various areas of their i n t e r e s t : the conservation of a r t i f a c t s , the landscaping a r t i f i c i a l ruins.  of country estates, the treatment of r e a l and  The antiquaries were not simply h i s t o r i c a l  They were involved i n evaluating competing claims for c u l t u r a l and they had to consider the aesthetic:; implications of that  researchers. ancestry, competition.  The antiquaries' a c t i v i t i e s concentrated i n three areas: description, 48 i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , and conservation. Description, consisting of the  29  discovery, c o l l e c t i n g and presenting of a r t i f a c t s , often through p u b l i -  49 cation, was  a natural continuation of the work of the topographers.  In i t s e a r l i e s t stages, the antiquarian movement, l i k e topography, had chauvinistic overtones and p a t r i o t i c uses.  E s p e c i a l l y when they turned  their attention from the monasteries to the monuments of c h i v a l r y , the baronial castles and manor-houses which already were being consciously imitated, Elizabethan antiquaries enlarged the sense of the nation's c u l t u r a l richness and d i v e r s i t y .  The g l o r i e s of the past, v i v i d l y  r e c a l l e d , provided a suitable background for the g l o r i e s of the present regime.  Since the natural h i s t o r y and the human history of England were  both enlisted i n the service of the idea of B r i t i s h greatness,  antiquar-  ianism and topography became almost indistinguishable i n t h e i r motives. The scope and texture of a topographical survey, l i k e Michael Drayton's Polyolbion  (1622), which magnified  the whole nation, was matched  by the minute attention that antiquaries gave to each region. turesque  t o u r i s t coming to a strange county was  The p i c -  also provided with a  guide to i t s a n t i q u i t i e s , i t s ruins, castles, cathedrals, and ancient homes.  Antiquaries expressed  regional, as well as national pride.  Antiquarian societies existed mainly on the l o c a l l e v e l and became a instrument  new  for achieving s o c i a l cohesion and for defining l o c a l i n t e r e s t s .  It i s not surprising that antiquaries often delved into the very microcosm of h i s t o r i c a l research: their own  family background.  Thus, we have  Horace Walpole writing to the Rev. William Cole: I am the f i r s t antiquary of my race [ i . e . , the Walpoles] — p e o p l e don't know how entertaining aLstudy i t i s . Who begot whom i s a most amusing kind of hunting; one recovers a grandfather instead of breaking one's own neck—and then one grows so pious to the memory of a thousand persons one  30  never heard of before. One finds how C h r i s t i a n names came into a family, with a world of other delectable erudition. . . . — I had promised myself a whole crop of notable ancestors—but I think I have pretty well unkennelled them myself.^ If antiquarianism bordered on one side on topography, on the other i t bordered on genealogy.  The common element was  the need to complete the  pattern of native things—whether geographical, c u l t u r a l , or f a m i l i a l . The a c t i v i t y of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n set the antiquaries apart from the descriptive topographers.  I d e n t i f i c a t i o n included the establishing of  regional, h i s t o r i c a l , generic or s t y l i s t i c categories for a r t i f a c t s ; proposing  the  of theories to explain their origins and to account for the  development of styles; and the analysing of a r t i f a c t s , mainly for their decorative features.  These studies, although by nature purely t h e o r e t i -  cal and d i s i n t e r e s t e d , were l i a b l e to lead antiquaries into the midst of the controversy over the r e l a t i v e value  of s t y l e s , a controversy  with  both c r i t i c a l and p r a c t i c a l implications. The a c t i v i t y of conservation was issues, of which the major one was  a response to those p r a c t i c a l  the use and abuse of medieval a r t i -  f a c t s , e s p e c i a l l y buildings and parts of buildings. conservatism  had both secular and r e l i g i o u s aspects.  The antiquaries' The o r i g i n a l a n t i -  quarian attention to e c c l e s i a s t i c a l subjects persisted, fixed there by alarming developments.  Antiquaries r e a d i l y involved themselves i n d i s -  putes over the commercial use of churches and monasteries, or their destruction for reasons of convenience.  But the developers  and  specula-  tors were not the only opponents with whom the protectors of gothic buildings had to cope.  In 1778,  when the new  gothic taste had spread i n  l i t e r a t u r e and design, Vicesimus Knox, one of the more rabid opponents  31  of the gothic, complained about the use of stained glass i n church windows, n o t i n g — r a t h e r c o n t r a d i c t o r i l y — t h e "glaring colours" of the glass and the muted, gloomy i n t e r i o r l i g h t i n g that i t allowed.  To Knox  "the dim i n t e r i o r suggested the tainted atmosphere of papacy and made an appeal . . .  to the ardent imagination, the a c t i v i t y of which the con-  genital c l a s s i c i s t viewed with profound disgust."  The objects of  his  attack included both the a f f e c t a t i o n that was papish richness and superstitious ignorance which the painted windows represented  the  to him.  Knox's use of the symbolic connection between l i g h t and r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f was remarkably similar to the l i t e r a r y g o t h i c i s t s ' : A r e l i g i o u s dimness may, perhaps, be deemed necessary f o r the bigoted inhabitants of the convent and the c l o y s t e r , whose minds, i t i s to be feared, are often as dark as their habitations; but l i g h t i s cheerful, and cheerfulness i s the d i s p o s i t i o n of innocence.^ Similar feelings led to the substitution of clear glass for coloured and attempts to brighten church i n t e r i o r s .  A Low Church d i s t a s t e for orna-  ment and for the sensuous accompaniments to r e l i g i o u s r i t u a l combined with the more general d i s t r u s t of emotional or i r r a t i o n a l r e l i g i o u s experiences  to advance such  Antiquaries regarded  "reforms."  them with mingled suspicion and horror.  A  great deal of what passed for r e s t o r a t i o n or improvement of medieval buildings r e a l l y amounted to extensive rebuilding i n the better baroque or neo-classical) s t y l e .  (i.e.,  Antiquaries acted as guardians  against  incompetent, careless or malicious r e s t o r a t i o n work; for the work of rationalizing  existing churches so that they would be free from papish  trappings was u n l i k e l y to f a l l into the hands of builders who stake i n the o r i g i n a l s t y l e .  had  any  Antiquaries—and not only those who  had  32 developed a s p e c i a l a f f e c t i o n for the g o t h i c — f e a r e d that many objects of h i s t o r i c a l importance and of considerable beauty would be relegated to the trash heap indiscriminately. Although many antiquaries seemed to edge toward a favouring of Roman Catholic i n s t i t u t i o n s and r i t u a l (or at least an High Church p o s i t i o n ) , i t was  also possible to argue for the  intact preservation of medieval churches and monasteries on purely servational ground.  con-  For the antiquary, any evidence of English history  was worth saving, regardless of the d o c t r i n a l or p o l i t i c a l associations which i t bore. whatever their r a t i o n a l e , antiquaries practiced several kinds of conservation.  They salvaged  old stained glass that had been discarded.  Where medieval buildings had f a l l e n into irreparable r u i n — a n d  without  knowledge of, or interest i n , the constructive p r i n c i p l e s of medieval architecture, much of the damage was a r t i f a c t s were portable.  i r r e p a r a b l e — t h e y rescued whatever  As Horace Walpole's correspondence with Cole  and with his antiquarian adviser, John Chute, shows, i t was  common for  antiquaries to incorporate many of the rescued things into their  new  53 buildings, usually with unfortunate aesthetic r e s u l t s .  In such cases,  the antiquary's motives went beyond conservation or the gathering of a c o l l e c t i o n , and turned into-the main force that directed the medieval r e v i v a l : the use of a romantic, e a r l i e r time to enrich contemporary l i f e , to give s a t i s f a c t i o n s that the culture of the mainstream could not give. We can see that force working more d i r e c t l y i f we look to other aspects of the revived interest i n past things than the a r c h i t e c t u r a l . Besides, a r c h i t e c t u r a l antiquarianism was s i b l e literary  uses, or, conversely,  r a r e l y separate from i t s pos-  from i t s usual l i t e r a r y  sources.  33 The interest i n medieval architecture c e r t a i n l y had not been provoked by any sudden r e a l i z a t i o n of either i t s aesthetic or i t s cons t r u c t i v e advantages.  Instead, W. H. Smith notes, "the f i r s t stage of  the Gothic r e v i v a l was . . . appreciation of Gothic architecture merely 54 because of i t s antiquity and i t s h i s t o r i c a l associations."  Smith's  l i s t of motives f o r this appreciation makes no mention of some i n t r i n s i c value i n the gothic: "People were interested i n Gothic because i t preserved ancestral t r a d i t i o n s , because i t adorned the landscape, because i t inspired awe, because i t induced melancholy r e f l e c t i o n s , because i t gave them a congenial background. . . . I t would be d i f f i c u l t to say that any one of these separate attitudes antedated any other, or that any one ever prevailed to the utter exclusion of any other.""^  Clark has  noted that the favour shown medieval architecture by such early journalwriters as Pepys and Evelyn, and by many antiquaries, was expressed mainly through an appreciation of the massive scale of the buildings, the ingenuity of their ornamentation,  and the labour which a r e l a t i v e l y  primitive people brought to their construction.  In short, they were  admired because they were impressive or because the fact of their being b u i l t was supposed to be impressive. The awesomeness of the gothic helped to determine i t s l i t e r a r y value, and i t s p o l i t i c a l value, also; for Horace Walpole i n h i s famous comparison of the effects of "Grecian" and "Gothic" buildings could not r e s i s t emphasizing  that the gothic cathedral was a piece of propaganda meant to  enrich the Roman Catholic Church: . . . the men who had not the happiness of l i g h t i n g on the s i m p l i c i t y and proportion of the Greek orders, were however so lucky as to s t r i k e out a thousand graces and e f f e c t s ,  34  which rendered their buildings magnificent, yet genteel, vast, yet l i g h t , venerable and picturesque. It i s d i f f i cult for the noblest Grecian temple to convey half so many impressions to the mind, as a cathedral does of the best Gothic t a s t e — a proof of s k i l l i n the architects and of address i n the priests who erected them. The l a t t e r exhausted their knowledge of the passions i n composing e d i f i c e s whose pomp, mechanism, vaults, tombs, painted windows, gloom and perspectives infused such sensations of romantic devotion; and they were happy i n finding a r t i s t s capable of executing such machinery. One must have taste to be sensible of the beauties of Grecian archi t e c t u r e ; one only wants passions to f e e l Gothic. In St. Peter's one i s convinced that i t was b u i l t by great princes. In Westminster-abbey, one thinks not of the builder; the r e l i g i o n of the place makes the f i r s t impression—and though stripped of i t s a l t a r s and shrines, i t i s nearer converting one to popery than a l l the regular pageantry of Roman domes. Gothic churches infuse superstition; Grecian, admiration. The papal see amassed i t s wealth by Gothic cathedrals, and displays i t i n Grecian temples. The meaning  of the objects that the antiquaries c o l l e c t e d , preserved  and analysed came from two literary  sources: the a c t i v i t i e s of the  liter-  ary antiquaries,"^ and the experiments i n new modes of poetic s e n s i t i v i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y the melancholy, the sentimental, and the sublime. L i t e r a r y antiquarian a c t i v i t y can be traced back to Edmund Spenser's decision to revive c h i v a l r i c subject matter and settings, and to a f f e c t 58 an archaic vocabulary and s p e l l i n g , i n the Faerie  Queene.  But the  works which best i l l u s t r a t e the renewed interest i n things medieval while pointing to the use of medieval l i f e i n f i c t i o n date from the middle of the eighteenth century. Political  Dialogues  They are Richard Hurd's Moral  (1759) and Letters  and Thomas Warton's Observations and Thomas Percy's Reliques  on Chivalry  on the Faerie  of Ancient  English  and Romance  (1762),  Queene of Spenser Poetry  (1765).  and  (1754),  These  works are informative as much i n their method of argument as i n their substance, so that i t becomes hard to separate the  two.  35  In the t h i r d of the Moral and Political Golden Age of Queen Elisabeth  Dialogues,  that "on the  BETWEEN The Hon. Robert DIGBY, Dr. ARBUTHNOT,  59 and Mr. ADDISON,"  Hurd pretended to record the conversation of the  t r a v e l l e r s during their excursion to "Kenelworth Castle" [ s i c ] i n 1716. He supplied each with a d i f f e r e n t reason for the t r i p , suited to h i s character and to the arguments he would present: These were matters of high entertainment to a l l of them; to Dr. ARBUTHNOT, f o r the pleasure of r e c o l l e c t i n g the ancient times; to Mr. ADDISON, on account of some p o l i t i c a l reflexions, he was fond of indulging on such occasions; and to Mr. DIGBY, from an ingenuous c u r i o s i t y , and the love of seeing and observing whatever was most remarkable, whether i n the past ages, or the present (p. 37). The three behave l i k e t y p i c a l scenic t o u r i s t s when they a r r i v e at the Castle: On their entrance into the inner-court, they were struck with the sight of many mouldering towers, which preserved a sort of magnificence even i n their ruins. They amused themselves with observing the vast compass of the whole, with marking the uses, and tracing the dimensions, of the several parts. A l l of which i t was easy f o r them to do, by the very d i s t i n c t traces that remained of them, and e s p e c i a l l y by means of DUGDALE'S plans and descriptions, which they had taken care to consult (pp. 39-40). The v i s i t o r s climb to a vantage-point i n the ruins, whence they can look out over the countryside: "The prospect of so many antique towers f a l l i n g into rubbish, contrasted to the various beauties of the landscape, struck them with admiration and kept them s i l e n t f o r some time" (p. 40). Dr. Arbuthnot  i s overcome by "a melancholy of so d e l i g h t f u l a kind, that I  would not exchange i t , methinks for any brisker sensation."  And he won-  ders "how i t i s that the mind, even while i t laments, finds so great a pleasure i n v i s i t i n g these scenes of desolation" (pp. 40-41).  Addison,  however, suffers no such mixed emotion, only pleasure, "a f i c t i o n of the  36  imagination, which makes me think I am taking revenge on the once prosperous and overshadowing  height . . . of inordinate Greatness" (p. 41).  He observes with s a t i s f a c t i o n the fact that humble farmers l i v e i n the lodge once occupied by the overbearing porter of the Castle, while a l l the trappings and ceremony of the overlords have dropped into o b l i v i o n . This observation soon turns into an overtly p o l i t i c a l reading of the scene.  For Addison, the Castle awakens an indignation against the prosperous tyranny of those wretched times, and creates a generous pleasure i n r e f l e c t i n g on the happiness we enjoy under a juster and more equal government. . . . I never see the remains of that greatness which arose i n past ages on the ruins of public freedom and private property, but I congratulate with myself on l i v i n g at a time, when the meanest subject i s as free and independent as those royal minions; and when h i s property, whatever i t be, i s as secure from oppression, as that of the f i r s t minister (pp. 44-45).  The ensuing argument i s almost e n t i r e l y between Addison and Arbuthnot; for Digby, although he mostly favours Dr. Arbuthnot's side, seldom offers an opinion of h i s own.  Throughout  the discussion Arbuthnot i s  the mouthpiece for Hurd's opinions. The Dialogue deals i n moral and p o l i t i c a l , not aesthetic, values; therefore, the arguments which Addison i s made to bring against nonc l a s s i c a l art and medieval customs are not the kind found i n the r e a l Addison's papers on the Pleasures of the Imagination.  These former  arguments are associative, whereas those i n the Spectator give some psychological account of an object's e f f e c t s .  often t r y to I t i s also  s i g n i f i c a n t that the chivalry and romance (or the tyranny and pomp) which are so much an issue i n the Dialogue belong to the Tudor period; they are the romance of Sidney, Shakespeare, or even the seventeenthcentury French romantic r e v i v a l .  Because the arguments do not d i r e c t l y  37  take i n medieval things, i t was possible to s k i r t r e l i g i o u s problems i n the Dialogue, to delay treating the issue of "monkish s u p e r s t i t i o n " that always arose i n eighteenth-century  medievalism.  Arbuthnot defends Elizabethan culture by r e l a t i n g i t to the culture of the Greek and Roman golden ages.  He compares the organized  combat of  the tournaments to the Olympic Games and the spectacles staged i n the Roman arenas.  He emphasizes the c l a s s i c a l content of the Elizabethan  court masques.  Through these means Hurd was trying to win a measure of  r e s p e c t a b i l i t y for c h i v a l r i c customs and romance l i t e r a t u r e , by stressing their actual f a m i l i a r i t y , their a b i l i t y to f i t within e x i s t i n g c u l t u r a l l i m i t s ; thus f a r , he stayed away from heterodox aims and methods.  There  i s , for example, no attempt i n the Dialogue to j u s t i f y the romance or the customs of chivalry according  to their own rules or standards.  Instead Hurd r e l i e d on c r i t e r i a about which there was already agreement. In that way his work i n the Dialogue resembled that of the popularizer of gothic architecture, Batty Langley, of whom Walpole said that he had "endeavoured to adapt Gothic architecture to Roman measures; as P h i l i p 61 Sidney attempted to regulate English verse by Roman f e e t . " Despite his desire to avoid f l o u t i n g the p r e v a i l i n g aesthetic and moral standards, Hurd showed one important change i n h i s a t t i t u d e toward the gothic, a change signalled through his terminology.  In the Third  Dialogue we meet, for the f i r s t time i n c r i t i c a l discourse, a neutral use of the term gothic, even i f i t does not properly apply to the subjects under discussion.  The degree of the change comes across  clearly  i n the contrast between Addison's reference, i n the Dialogue, to "a jumble of Gothic  romance and pagan fable" (p. 65) and Arbuthnot's  38 "Gothic  T i l t s and Tournaments" (p. 54): Addison makes Gothic  roughly equivalent i n meaning; Arbuthnot a period. or  as the name for  From t h i s point we can see the equation "gothic equals  quaintly archaic"  equals  treats Gothic  and "pagan"  medieval  begin to compete with the derogatory equation "gothic  barbarous."  For Hurd the word gothic was a simple means of distinguishing " c l a s s i c " or "Grecian" objects from those which could be grouped loosely under the heading medieval. mentioned "my  By 1771, when James Beattie, i n The  Minstrel,  gothic l y r e " and "gothic days," the r e l a t i v e n e u t r a l i t y of  the term showed even i n i t s s p e l l i n g : "the lower case 'g' indicates that 62  the term i s losing i t s r a c i a l and l i n g u i s t i c a f f i l i a t i o n s . " Compared with the e a r l i e r equation "gothic equals barbarous" n e u t r a l i t y must have seemed*more l i k e praise.  Hurd's  As reaction to things  medieval became more sophisticated, the term gothic wavered i n meaning between n e u t r a l i t y (for the purpose of i d e n t i f y i n g a r t i f a c t s ) and outright i d e a l i z a t i o n .  This s h i f t accompanied the development of the  concept of le bon vieux  temps i n eighteenth-century France, and i t s  English counterpart: . . . not only were the romances of the Middle Ages p r e t t i f i e d but the reading public derived from them and other second-hand sources a set of idealized notions concerning "Gothic" l i f e . Writers and readers of the second half of the century lent to medieval men and women the v i r t u e s that Tacitus grante'd to the Germans i n order to s a t i r i z e the vices of Rome. . . . And because for a time nobody was conscious of r a c i a l or national d i s t i n c t i o n s , even less of chronological ones, a l l medieval men were pictured„as courageous, l o y a l , sober, chaste, honest and sincere./There i s an undercurrent of skepticism about the quality of l i f e i n e a r l i e r times, i n the Third Dialogue, that saves Hurd from any charge of idealization.  Even on Arbuthnot's side of the f i c t i t i o u s discussion  39 lurks an acknowledgment that darkness and barbarity formed the background to the Elizabethan world; that the p r i n c i p a l value of c h i v a l r i c customs and romance l i t e r a t u r e was  their power to l i f t people occasionally above  those basic conditions. Hurd carried the ambivalence of the Third Dialogue into his larger antiquarian work, the Letters Letters  on Chivalry  and Romance (1762).  The  do make a more d e f i n i t e claim for the independent value of the  romances, but traces of less favourable attitudes and terminology remain: The s p i r i t of Chivalry, was a f i r e which soon spent i t s e l f : But that of Romance, which was kindled at i t , burnt long, and continued i t s l i g h t and heat even to p o l i t e r ages. The greatest geniuses of our own and foreign countries . . . were seduced by these b a r b a r i t i e s of their forefathers; were even charmed by the Gothic Romances. Was this caprice and absurdity i n them? Or, may there not be something i n the Gothic Romance p e c u l i a r l y suited to the views of a genius, and to the ends of poetry? And may not the philosophic moderns have gone too f a r , i n their perpetual r i d i c u l e and contempt of i t ? (pp. 80-81). The r h e t o r i c a l questions  introduce a r a d i c a l l y new  defence of romance  l i t e r a t u r e , but phrases l i k e " p o l i t e r ages" and "seduced by these barb a r i t i e s " betray ingrained attitudes, or at least Hurd's use of those attitudes to shield himself from accusations  of "caprice and  absurdity."  This passage from Letter I also sets out the main purpose of the Letters:  to show i n d e t a i l the reasons for the romances' s u i t a b i l i t y "to  the views of a genius, and to the ends of poetry." beyond the Third Dialogue as literary  The Letters  go  research; instead of aiming to  modify the general reputation of an h i s t o r i c a l period, they urge that a s p e c i f i c range of subject matter, a s p e c i f i c imaginative power be used again i n l i t e r a r y creation.  40 The f i r s t four Letters, however, are given over to a study of the c h i v a l r i c code which Hurd regarded as the source for the romances. too the older prejudices show up.  Hurd s t i l l could see that c h i v a l r i c  manners resembled madness, for they included fanaticism, and single-mindedness.  Here  recklessness  Consequently, he had to r e l a t e these character-  i s t i c s to the needs of heroic poetry, i n order to connect them with art rather than barbarity. Hurd's sources for his research were, at best, second-hand.  He  admits i n the fourth Letter that he did not learn about chivalry from the old romances d i r e c t l y , for he had not "perused these barbarous v o l umes my s e l f ; much less would I impose the ungrateful attack upon you. 64 . . . Thanks to the c u r i o s i t y of c e r t a i n p a i n f u l c o l l e c t o r s ,  this  knowledge may be obtained at a cheaper r a t e " (p. 94). Hurd thus evaded the question of why he did not consult the romances himself and of what effect t h i s might have on the v a l i d i t y of his conclusions. In Letter V Hurd returned to the idea of a correspondence between Homeric and romantic depictions of heroism, acknowledging that the idea originated with Sainte-Palaye  (p. 95). This p a r a l l e l r e c a l l s the s t r a t -  egy of the Third Dialogue: use of the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the c l a s s i c a l and the gothic i n order to prove the value of the l a t t e r . these resemblances further i n Letter V, observing  Hurd pursued  that the p o l i t i c a l  organization of Homeric Greece was l i k e the feudal system: "an i n f i n i t e number of petty independent governments."  His main conclusion was that  similar s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s and customs arose because of s i m i l a r p o l i t i c a l arrangements, a "common corresponding state"  (p. 104).  He worked  around the problem of d i f f e r e n t r e l i g i o u s i n s t i t u t i o n s by declaring that  41  "the r e l i g i o u s character of the knight was  an accident of the times, and  no proper e f f e c t of his c i v i l condition" (p. 104).  This was  a strange  statement from a bishop of the Church of England, since i t implied that p o l i t i c s were e s s e n t i a l i n forming the s o c i a l order and r e l i g i o n merely contingent. In Letter VI Hurd changed the force of h i s comparisons and began to demonstrate the superiority  of romantic to c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e .  supporting his preference with c i t a t i o n s from c l a s s i c a l and  After  gothic  writers, Hurd concluded that "the fancies of our modern bards [ i . e . , Shakespeare, Spenser and Milton] are not only more g a l l a n t , but  . . .  more sublime, more t e r r i b l e , more alarming, than those of the c l a s s i c fablers . . . you w i l l find that the manners they paint, and the  super-  stitions  114).  they adopt, are the more p o e t i c a l for being Gothic"  (p.  The gothic had the advantage of the c l a s s i c a l " i n producing the (p. 117).  sublime"  Early i n the same Letter, Hurd imagined that Homer himself,  given the chance to judge, would have preferred "the manners of the feudal ages": "And  the grounds of this preference would, I suppose, have  been 'The improved  gallantry  solemnity  superstitions""  knights"  of their  instead of "feudal  of the feudal (p. 108;  times").  At this point i n the Letters  times';  and the  the 1788  'superior  e d i t i o n has  "Gothic  ^  i t i s already clear that Hurd was  not  writing a mere antiquarian t r e a t i s e , an analysis of forgotten documents with mild apologies for their strangeness.  He had set out to re-introduce  hitherto unacceptable, contemptible subject matter into poetry, but was  he  also presenting an a l t e r n a t i v e set of standards for judging the qual-  i t y of poetry, standards which were based on i t s disturbing e f f e c t s ,  42 rather than i t s beauty.  After a l l the habitual connecting of the gothic  with superstition i n a negative way, Hurd had taken a new c r i t i c a l d i r e c tion by suggesting that there were kinds  of superstitions, and that some  could produce stronger effects i n poetry than others.  And i f one was to  use superstitions i n poetry, i t was much better that they be Christian rather than pagan superstitions; that was another reason for preferring the gothic to the c l a s s i c a l imagination—although the gothic was only more Christian, not truly  Christian.  Hurd's greatest accomplishment i n Letter VI was h i s argument for the f l e x i b i l i t y of c r i t i c a l judgments, and h i s recognition that a r t i s t i c standards are founded on a framework which i s not necessarily f i x e d . Hurd demonstrated this idea i n his defence of Spenser's Faerie  Queene.  A kind of defence had been t r i e d before, i n Thomas Warton's Observations appeared  on the Faerie  Queene of Spenser,  the f i r s t e d i t i o n of which  i n 1754, when Warton was only twenty-six years o l d .  This work  would have been before Hurd's mind when he composed h i s own defence; a second e d i t i o n of the Observations, year as the Letters.  revised, came out i n 1762, the same  Comparing the defences, Arthur Johnston has noted  that "Warton's work i s the more crabbed and detailed work of the scholar; he had read the romances to which he traced Spenser's debt.  I t i s there-  fore with Warton, and not with Hurd, that the romances themselves the f i e l d of h i s t o r i c a l c r i t i c i s m of l i t e r a t u r e . "  enter  Warton was equipped  to apply h i s t o r i c i s t techniques and ideas to h i s subject.  Yet, he was  s t i l l beset by the lingering c r i t i c a l doubts and the r i g i d standards of his time: "One half of Warton's mind s t i l l approved of these standards. Even when allowing that the Faerie  Queene should not be judged as a  43 c l a s s i c a l epic, he could not divest himself of his preconceptions;  he  did not take the bold step of searching the poem for quite other p r i n -  66 c i p l e s of organization and design." Hurd took that s t e p — t h e influence.  lesser scholar, with the more r a d i c a l  He was sure that some other c r i t i c a l approach to the  Faerie  Queene would reveal the poem i n a d i f f e r e n t l i g h t : "Under this idea then of a Gothic, not c l a s s i c a l poem, the Faery cized.  Queen i s to be read and c r i t i -  And on these p r i n c i p l e s , i t would not be d i f f i c u l t to unfold i t s  merit i n another way than has been hitherto attempted" (p. 115). Hurd exposed the problem of r e l a t i v i t y i n Letter VIII, through an a r c h i t e c t u r a l analogy, the force of which i s a l l the more s t r i k i n g because Hurd's claims for the autonomous value of the gothic offered an a l t e r n a t i v e to the compromise invented by the neo-Vitruvians,  l i k e the Langley brothers,  for gothic architecture: When an a r c h i t e c t examines a Gothic structure by Grecian rules, he finds nothing but deformity. But the Gothic a r c h i tecture has i t s own r u l e s , by which when i t comes to be examined, i t i s seen to have i t s merit, as well as the Grecian. The question i s not, which of the two i s conducted i n the simplest or truest taste: but, whether there be not sense and design i n both, when scrutinized by the laws on which each i s projected. The same observation holds of the two sorts of poetry. Judge of the Faery Queen by the c l a s s i c models, and you are shocked with i t s disorder; consider i t with an eye to i t ' s [sic] Gothic o r i g i n a l , and you find i t regular. The unity and s i m p l i c i t y of the former are more complete: but the l a t t e r has that sort of unity and s i m p l i c i t y which r e s u l t s from i t s nature (pp. 118-119). Despite the concession  of more complete "unity and s i m p l i c i t y " to c l a s s -  i c a l art and l i t e r a t u r e , the important feature of this analogy i s the argument, l i k e the one for superstitions, that there are kinds  of "unity  and s i m p l i c i t y , " each suited to a p a r t i c u l a r s t y l e of work, and that  44 only against these should the work be judged.  This idea allowed Hurd to  a t t r i b u t e much of the contempt for romantic l i t e r a t u r e among c r i t i c s to their misapplication of the c l a s s i c a l c r i t e r i o n of unity gothic, whose corresponding proper c r i t e r i o n was unity In of  of action of  Letter IX Hurd asserted as a general p r i n c i p l e "the  the Gothic  manners and fictions,  above the classic"  (p. 128).  as adapted  to the  design. preeminence  to the ends of  poetry,  He explained the decline i n esteem for the  romances by r e f e r r i n g to the u n f a m i l i a r i t y of the l i f e they depicted. Since, according to Hurd, there was no adequate representation of c h i v a l r i c manners before they had passed away and become strange, a l l the masterpieces of romance were retrospective, imitative, romantic i n their distance  from the subject.  By the time romances were written, the condi-  tions under which they could be appreciated had disappeared; i t was hard to believe that they were anything more than extravagant, f i c t i t i o u s impositions.  C l a s s i c a l heroic poetry had escaped a similar stigma, Hurd  claimed, because Homeric manners were s t i l l recognizable i n many primit i v e or natural s o c i e t i e s ; therefore, r e a l i t y was s t i l l capable of v e r i f y i n g the f i c t i o n .  C l a s s i c a l manners and subjects were considered  universal, whereas gothic were not.  No doubt this was because the  resemblances between them had been overlooked. F i n a l l y Hurd took up the test of truth, and i t s shortcomings when applied to f i c t i o n .  C r i t i c s who had been trained to distinguish between  d e c e i t f u l , harmful f i c t i o n s and true imitations of nature "suppose that the poets, who believed.  are lyars by profession, expect to have their lyes  Surely they are not so unreasonable.  i f they can but bring you to imagine  They think i t enough,  the p o s s i b i l i t y of them. . . . Does  45 any capable reader trouble himself about the truth, or even the c r e d i b i l i t y of their fancies? to conceive  Alas,  no; he i s best pleased when he i s made  . . . the existence of such things as his reason t e l l s him  did not, and were never l i k e l y to, e x i s t " (pp. 135-136).  Reason opposes  the reader's deceiving himself, but i s p a c i f i e d temporarily when the romance assumes the protective guise of allegory, and with i t an a i r of moral seriousness and i n t e l l e c t u a l complexity.  In the end, however,  "assisted . . . by party, and r e l i g i o u s prejudices," reason "would endure these lying  wonders,  neither i n their own proper shape, nor as masked i n  figures" (p. 154). Henceforth, the taste of wit and poetry took a new turn: And the Muse, who had wantoned i t so long i n the world of f i c t i o n , was now constrained, against her w i l l , to a l l y herself with s t r i c t truth, i f she would gain admittance into reasonable company. What we have gotten by this revolution . . . i s a great deal of good sense. What we have l o s t , i s a world of f i n e fabling (p. 154). Hurd could not f u l l y approve t h i s exchange.  Implicit i n his doubts  about i t was the p o s s i b i l i t y that t e l l i n g the truth was not a necessary feature of f i c t i o n or poetry.  Hurd was much less troubled by the conse-  quences of " l y i n g " i n f i c t i o n than were other mid-eighteenth-century c r i t i c s and reviewers. Although the Letters  carry some marks of antiquarian scholarship,  their o v e r a l l e f f e c t i s to bring out the novelty not to identify systematic way.  of gothic l i t e r a t u r e ,  i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s c a r e f u l l y and l a y them out i n a By disregarding the claims of moral or mimetic t r u t h f u l -  ness upon f i c t i o n , and by admitting that t e r r o r , sublimity and strong feeling were legitimate ends f o r i t , Hurd l e f t the way open to reverse the common attitude toward the gothic; f o r , i f the pleasures of the  46 gothic and the f a n t a s t i c were not innately i n f e r i o r to the  licit,  r a t i o n a l pleasures of c l a s s i c a l a r t , i t no longer made sense to regard the makers of the gothic (whether ancient or contemporary) as  barbarians.  No more than i n the Third Dialogue did Hurd cross over i n the Letters  to i d e a l i z e the age of c h i v a l r y or i t s products.  his study was  The point of  to i d e n t i f y and remedy a deficiency i n imaginative  which had affected the l i t e r a t u r e of his own  time.  freedom  Hurd was not  t i c , however, that i t would be easy to recover that freedom.  optimis-  He believed  that the e f f o r t s of Tasso, Ariosto, Spenser and Milton to revive c h i v a l r i c subjects i n poetry had been r e l a t i v e l y f u t i l e ; these poets had under the influence of a c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n which was  laboured  tightening i t s  hold on l i t e r a r y convention, and they had f e l t obliged to respond to i t . Hurd preferred to their hybrid works a (hypothetical) unmixed sort of romance, but, by his own Nevertheless,  admission, he was  not c e r t a i n where i t existed.  i f gothic values and subjects were to enter poetry  Hurd believed that they had to come from the original diluted  again,  sources, not from  imitations.  The discovery of gothic o r i g i n a l s formed the background to Thomas Percy's Religues  of Ancient  English  Poetry  (1765).  At the centre of  Percy's work was  the famous f o l i o manuscript, "containing one hundred and  ninety-five Sonnets, Ballads, H i s t o r i c a l Songs, and M e t r i c a l Romances. The authenticity and actual existence of this manuscript were subjects of controversy  after the f i r s t e d i t i o n of the Religues  appeared, so that  Percy's nephew (also Thomas Percy) f e l t i t was necessary to give an account of i t s whereabouts and physical condition when he edited the fourth e d i t i o n of 1794.  The important facts about Percy's source  47  materials, for the purposes of this study, are these: the manuscripts were l i k e l y to be physically decayed or mutilated (we are sure of the extent of the damage i n the case of the main f o l i o ) ; i n addition, both Percy and his nephew were convinced that the texts had been corrupted during the process of transmission and recording, through the ignorance or laziness of singers and scribes; and f i n a l l y , both Bishop Percy's attitude toward h i s source materials—which varied between apology condescension—and  and  h i s use of them were a d i r e c t function of his b e l i e f  that they were defective as transmitted. In his own Preface, Percy gives some sign of the doubts which might have prevented him from compiling these poems—but did not—and offers a rationale for his work: The reader i s here presented with select remains of our ancient English Bards and Minstrels, an order of men who were once greatly respected by our ancestors, and c o n t r i buted to soften the roughness of a m a r t i a l and unlettered people by their songs and their m u s i c . . . . As most of them [the poems] are of great s i m p l i c i t y , and seem to have been merely written for the people, [the editor] was long i n doubt, whether, i n the present state of improved l i t e r a t u r e , they could be deemed worthy of the attention of the public. At length the importunity of h i s friends prev a i l e d , and he could refuse nothing to such judges as the author of The Rambler, and the l a t e Mr. Shenstone. Accordingly such specimens of ancient poetry have been selected, as either show the gradation of our language, exhibit the progress of popular opinions, display the pecul i a r manners and customs of former ages, or throw l i g h t on our e a r l i e r c l a s s i c a l poets. They are here distributed into VOLUMES . . . showing the gradual improvements of the English language and poetry, from the e a r l i e s t ages down to the present. . . . In a polished age, l i k e the present, I am sensible that many of these reliques of antiquity w i l l require great allowances to be made for them. Yet have they, for the most part, a pleasing s i m p l i c i t y , and many a r t l e s s graces, which i n the opinion of no mean c r i t i c s * have been thought to compensate *.'-'Mr. Addison, Mr. Dryden, and the witty Lord Dorset, &c. See the Spectator, No. 70. To these might be added many eminent judges now  48  for the want of higher beauties, and, i f they do not dazzle the imagination, are frequently found to interest the heart (I, xv-xvi). Percy was a scholar, a student of languages, a translator, a l i t e r ary h i s t o r i a n , and a poet.  Even more than Hurd, he was a f r a i d of commit-  ting some outrage against the p r e v a i l i n g standards of taste, but the weighty apparatus of h i s scholarship gave him the means of s a t i s f y i n g the d i s t i n c t needs of three groups: the antiquaries, the c r i t i c a l readers, and the new l i t e r a r y Goths (of whom Percy could scarcely have been aware). The Religues  contain a formidable array of documentation and explanation.  Three introductory essays, one for each volume, provide information about 68 Percy's sources,  the evolution of ballads and romances from an h i s t o r 69  i c a l to a f i c t i o n a l purpose,  and the c u l t u r a l m i l i e u which produced  the poems and songs.  The f i r s t t r e a t i s e , the "Essay on the Ancient  Minstrels i n England"  (I, xxv-lx), i s thoroughly larded with supplements:  the footnotes combined with the separate "Notes and I l l u s t r a t i o n " take up as much space as the main body of the essay.  Percy admitted that "the  desire of being accurate has perhaps seduced him into too minute and t r i f l i n g an exactness" (p. x i x ) , but the defects of the ballads seemed to j u s t i f y this attention. A sense of defective materials also determined  Percy's  editorial  p o l i c y , yet he remained able to reconcile various demands upon him: . . . the o l d copies . . . were often so defective or corrupted, that a scrupulous adherence to their wretched readings would only have exhibited u n i n t e l l i g i b l e nonsense, or such poor meagre stuff as neither came from the bard nor was worthy the press; when, by a few s l i g h t corrections or  a l i v e . The learned Selden appears also to have been fond of c o l l e c t i n g these old things." (Percy's note, p. xvi.)  49  additions, a most b e a u t i f u l or interesting sense hath started forth, and this so n a t u r a l l y and e a s i l y , that the Editor could seldom p r e v a i l on himself to indulge the vani t y of making a formal claim to the improvement. . . . Yet i t has been h i s design to give s u f f i c i e n t intimation where any considerable l i b e r t i e s were taken with the o l d copies, and to have retained, either i n the text or margin, any word which was antique, obsolete, unusual, or peculiar. . . . His object was to please both the judicious antiquary and the reader of taste; and he hath endeavoured to g r a t i f y both, without offending either (I, xix-xx). As Percy himself anticipated i n h i s Preface, i t was possible to read the Religues  i n several d i f f e r e n t ways, f o r several d i f f e r e n t  reasons.  The antiquary found there important records of England's l i t e r a r y ,  lin-  g u i s t i c and c u l t u r a l development, treated with due respect and care (as Percy assured him).  The c r i t i c a l reader could find there a poetic form  which he probably had not considered worth his interest before, but which had some inherent a t t r a c t i o n aside from i t s h i s t o r i c a l value. ways of treating the Religues  These two  tended to support each other: the antiquary  received some release from the usual charge that he dealt only i n esoteri c a from the fact that the ballads were pleasurable to read, and the c r i t i c a l reader received a serious excuse for indulging i n this out-ofthe-way form from the fact that i t was h i s t o r i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t .  Of  course Percy's evident scholarship was reassuring to both groups, f o r i t promised the r e q u i s i t e purity of text and h i s t o r i c a l interpretations to the one, while i t considered the sensitive tastes and c r i t i c a l scruples of the other.  If Percy seems now less blatant an advocate of a new  position than was Hurd, that i s partly because i t i s hard to t e l l whether he meant the ballads to i l l u s t r a t e his commentary or his commentary to j u s t i f y h i s subject.  Although Percy did not argue at any length for an  alternative to the poetry of his day, as Hurd had done, h i s discovery of  50  redeeming q u a l i t i e s i n the old ballads and l y r i c poetry, and his evocat i o n of the c h i v a l r i c i n s t i t u t i o n s and the minstrelsy, contributed to the increasingly receptive attitude toward medieval things, and thus s a t i s f i e d the needs of that t h i r d group of readers: the new goths. The Reliques  helped to d i r e c t renewed attention to f o l k and popular  l i t e r a t u r e , to make these seem less distant and vulgar, and more deserving  of serious study—even i f i t took Percy's "improvements" to bring  about this change.  However, Percy not only elevated the ballads and  songs i n l i n g u i s t i c or c u l t u r a l s i g n i f i c a n c e ; he also opened them as a source of r i c h imagery and emotional power.  He exposed the crudeness,  quaintness and strangeness of "ancient" poetry in the Reliques  (though much of the poetry  was no more than a century o l d ) ; he himself r e a l i z e d  (correctly) that these q u a l i t i e s needed apology and correction, since contemporary taste demanded something better.  But by making the strange  poetry accessible he made provision for that reaction to change, and for a new emotional and thematic range to expand i n modern poetry. Antiquaries contributed a fund of tentative knowledge about the c u l t u r a l l i f e of former ages, and preserved  that l i f e through the con-  servation of buildings and other physical remains, or through the c o l l e c t i n g of manuscripts which otherwise would have been relegated to the o b l i v i o n of the university l i b r a r i e s and great private c o l l e c t i o n s . The antiquaries made English c u l t u r a l and p o l i t i c a l history more r e a d i l y available and, therefore, p o t e n t i a l l y more i n f l u e n t i a l on the popular imagination.  I t i s hard to estimate the value of this kind of work for  the writers of gothic f i c t i o n , however inept many antiquaries may seem now as scholars, however l i t t l e gothic f i c t i o n adhered to the pedestrian  51  facts that came out of antiquarian research.  At least antiquaries gave  the basis i n concrete d e t a i l which sometimes prevented gothic f i c t i o n from consisting wholly of formulaic plots and vague atmospherics. antiquaries were mainly concerned with the identity f i c t i o n writers with i t s novelty,  The  of the gothic, the  but the antiquaries had provided, per-  haps without intending to or r e a l i z i n g the consequences, an object lesson i n the l a t t e r : the past was i n t e l l e c t or through the  enjoyable and e x c i t i n g to v i s i t , through the  imagination.  The strangeness of the gothic was i n English history.  balanced by i t s recognizable  It held a r a c i a l and national a f f i n i t y .  place  It was  a  central paradox of eighteenth-century  medievalism that an object could  exert equal a t t r a c t i o n because i t was  a l i e n and because i t was  indigenous.  A prime example of this dual meaning comes from the i n t e r e s t i n ruins, which derived from both antiquarian and poetic sources.  It  expressed i t s e l f i n the building of a r t i f i c i a l ruins to complete p i c turesque landscapes, or i n the including of r e a l ruins i n a scene. Inevitably the question of the proper style  for ruins arose.  Antiquaries  had studied both Roman and medieval ruins i n England, but the l a t t e r , obviously, were more numerous. natural  The idea that the gothic was  s t y l e gave some support to the preference  naturalness  a more  for gothic ruins.  The  of the gothic was based p a r t l y on analogies between gothic  buildings and the new manner of English gardening which had gained ground since the late seventeenth century—both were supposed to share such  70 q u a l i t i e s as i r r e g u l a r i t y , surprise, r u s t i c a t i o n , and In addition, the naturalness of gothic was of gothic building i n England.  curvilinearity.  based on the sheer abundance  Thus i t also was natural  i n the sense of  52 being native. f a i r l y well.  At least the new gothic could mimic t r a d i t i o n a l work William Mason, for example, preferred gothic to c l a s s i c a l  ruins i n gardens, reasoning  that since c l a s s i c a l ruins were much less  common i n England than i n I t a l y i t was pretensious ate an English garden.  to use them to decor-  Mason thus combined a concern for truthfulness  and consistency with a sense of what was properly English.  (He might  also have pointed out that the gothic was r e l a t e d , through aesthetic theory, to the new English manner of gardening of which he was a student.) Lord Karnes believed that c l a s s i c a l ruins were less desirable because they "depressed the beholder, reminding him of the t r a g i c circumstance that the barbarians had triumphed over the taste of the ancients.  As the  condition of the Gothic ruin . . . represented merely the v i c t o r y of time over strength, i t was on that account to be preferred.  I t did not  convey any p a i n f u l ideas, but affected the s p i r i t with a melancholy such as was only a source of pleasure to a person of f i n e s e n s i b i l i t y . Karnes apparently  chose not to l i n k the gothic builders with the "barbar-  ians" who had "triumphed over the taste of the ancients"; at any rate, that association did not a f f e c t the general s i g n i f i c a n c e he attributed to the gothic, not because i t was either a l i e n or f a m i l i a r , but because i t was symbolical.  Karnes looked at the gothic ruin which was becoming a  common f i x t u r e of the revived cult of mutability, and did not treat i t h i s t o r i c a l l y , as he did the c l a s s i c a l r u i n . With the discourse on Kenilworth  Castle i n Hurd's Third Dialogue  we encounter arguments about the gothic that deal not with aesthetic continuity or consistency  (as with Mason), not with erosion by time (as  with Kames), but with s o c i a l change and ancestry, with government and  53  culture.  When the f i c t i t i o u s Addison inveighs against the "prosperous  tyranny" of the Elizabethan nobles and indulges a "generous pleasure i n r e f l e c t i n g on the happiness we enjoy under a juster and more equal government," a l l this inspired by the sight of the Castle before him, i s r e g i s t e r i n g a complex of p o l i t i c a l responses.  he  The gothic r u i n — g o t h i c  i n the broader allowance of his t i m e — i s a symbol of a p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l system a l i e n from the contemporary one, and reassuringly i n f e r i o r to i t .  Addison's p o s i t i o n i s based on a p a r a l l e l between bad government  and bad architecture.  Both the gothic c a s t l e and gothic tyranny  are  intrusive forms, a l i e n to the true English s p i r i t which was better served by the reformation of architecture under neo-classicism and the securing of p o l i t i c a l and r e l i g i o u s freedom a f t e r the Revolution of  1688.  72  The various reactions to the gothic r u i n  were merely symptomatic  of the c o n f l i c t i n g motives of l i t e r a r y and a r c h i t e c t u r a l g o t h i c i s t s . The new  g o t h i c i s t s entertained a range of h i s t o r i c a l attitudes or per-  spectives which were not e n t i r e l y consistent with each other, and which brought an equal measure of complexity  to gothic f i c t i o n .  Frequently  they viewed English h i s t o r y i n terms of a n t i t h e t i c a l s o c i a l or r e l i g i o u s forces, and their l i t e r a r y works usually chose to approach these forces at some point of confrontation and  conflict.  The ambivalent h i s t o r i c a l perspectives of the g o t h i c i s t s showed p l a i n l y i n their treatment of r e l i g i o u s matters, and e s p e c i a l l y i n their attitudes towards the Roman Catholic Church. Three t y p i c a l attitudes towards r e l i g i o n emerge i n a l e t t e r from Horace Walpole to his friend and protege Richard Bentley.  On his way  v i s i t Sir George L y t t l e t o n at Hagley Park, Walpole stayed overnight at  to  54  Oxford, where "as soon as i t was dark, I ventured out, and the moon rose as I was wandering among the colleges, and gave me a charming venerable Gothic scene, which was not lessened by the monkish appearance of the 73  old  fellows stealing to their pleasures." The "monkish appearance" of the old scholars added to the charming  associations with which Walpole invested the moonlit scene.  That they  were " s t e a l i n g to their p l e a s u r e s " — o r that Walpole imagined they were— gave to their v e n e r a b i l i t y an overtone of mystery and lecherous hypocrisy such as would become common i n the gothic novels' depiction of monks and nuns. his  Walpole's pleasure i n this tableau derived from several sources:  absorption i n the melancholy (he seems to have awaited n i g h t - f a l l  before setting out on h i s walk), h i s sense of the mysteriousness, quaintness and absurdity of the comparison between scholars and monks, and h i s temporary indulgence of a fantasy which the censorship of consciousness recognized was outlandish and somewhat contemptible.  (I must also men-  tion that Walpole was a former Cantabrigian, not an Oxonian; t h i s , of course, aided the fantasizing.)  Walpole was delighted i n the same way  when a French v i s i t o r to Strawberry H i l l mistook the Cabinet for a r e a l chapel and knelt to pray. so  Walpole was excited that the resemblance was  convincing, that h i s imitation had succeeded, and that h i s guest was  b r i e f l y embarrassed.  Even while entertaining medieval or Catholic  fantasies, Walpole maintained a sense of h i s own s u p e r i o r i t y — a n d h i s time's s u p e r i o r i t y — t o them. Later i n the same let.t-er to Bentley, Walpole expressed contempt for the  dullness of many topographical surveys and hope that h i s projected  new edition of Camden's Britannia  would avoid that p i t f a l l .  He then  55  mentioned a further danger i n antiquarian a c t i v i t y : "Another promise I make you i s , that my  love of abbeys s h a l l not make me hate the Reforma-  tion t i l l that makes me grow a Jacobite, l i k e the rest of my  antiquarian  74  predessors [ s i c ] . . . ."  Although Walpole enjoyed playing with the  trappings and the ceremonial instruments of Roman Catholicism, this  was  a matter of manipulating s u p e r f i c i a l i t i e s , while the e s s e n t i a l elements of Catholicism remained highly suspect, or wholly abhorrent. ance of Walpole's l o y a l t i e s , however, was other antiquaries.  This b a l -  not always duplicated among  His fears that there was a connection between a n t i -  quaries and Jacobites had some j u s t i f i c a t i o n .  Antiquaries who  studied  gothic churches or English e c c l e s i a s t i c a l history had ample occasion to lament the destructive effects of the Reformation i n England upon their subject matter. rear-guard  As conservators  they f e l t that they were f i g h t i n g a  action against those who,  for d o c t r i n a l reasons—whether deist  or Methodist—wanted to abolish church decoration, the emotional basis for worship, the richness of gothic design.  Armed with such f e e l i n g s ,  antiquaries made natural a l l i e s within any High Church movement.  One  Walpole's chief antiquarian correspondents, for example, the Rev.  William  Cole, was  of  himself a High Church Tory, a fact that Walpole sometimes had  to s k i r t diplomatically i n order to preserve their valuable friendship.''^ The c o r r e l a t i o n between antiquarianism f u l l y evident during the nineteenth  and High Church a f f i l i a t i o n  was  century i n England, when High Church  members dominated the i n f l u e n t i a l E c c l e s i o l o g i c a l S o c i e t y . ^  That Wal-  pole usually r e a l i z e d the boundary l i n e between his fantasies and his overt allegiances to Church and party does not remove the importance of Catholicism for other antiquaries, as a constant  a t t r a c t i o n , and as an  56  undeclared motivation for their i n t e r e s t s and a c t i v i t i e s . Walpole's l e t t e r to Bentley also suggests a t h i r d approach to r e l i g i o n and medievalism: apparent-objectivity.  Walpole described a  v i s i t to Malvern Abbey where "the woman who showed me the church would pester me with Christ and King David, when I was hunting for John of Gaunt and King Edward."^  Walpole thus represented himself as being  interested only i n the h i s t o r i c a l associations of the place, not i n i t s r e l i g i o u s iconography.  This preference seems consistent with h i s endur-  ing f a s c i n a t i o n with English h i s t o r y , a f a s c i n a t i o n which produced such works as h i s Historic  Catalogue  Doubts  on  of the  the  Life  Royal and  Reign  and of  Noble  Authors  of  King  Richard  III.  and h i s  England  I t was also  consistent with his practice i n forming c l e r i c a l . l i t e r a r y characters. The f r i a r s i n The  Castle  of  Otranto  and  The  Mysterious  may be  Mother  stereotyped f i g u r e s , whose benevolence or viciousness bears some r e l a t i o n to Walpole's opinion of the Catholic Church and medieval r e l i g i o s i t y , but he did not concern himself very much with the doctrines they professed, the nature of their creed.  They were not e s s e n t i a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the  other characters he placed i n the same h i s t o r i c a l period.  Walpole used  the Church i n his f i c t i o n as a part of the f a n t a s t i c a l world of the Middle Ages, an important but not a supremely important  part.  He was  interested i n i t for the colour i t provided, for the scandals and hypoc r i s y and fanaticism which were attributed to i t i n Protestant  legend,  and not for any i n t r i n s i c a l l y theological reasons. But his preference for s e c u l a r — o r n o n - d o c t r i n a l — s t u d i e s was not exclusive.  I t did not affect h i s l i b r a r y acquisitions which, Lewis has  learned, were "surprisingly strong i n controversial theology"; for  57  "Walpole l i k e d to read about the squabbles of c l e r i c s and the sort of thing that he found i n B a y l e — a statement by an abbot of Leicester that he had seen at Jerusalem a finger of the Holy Ghost and the snout of a 78 seraphim. . . . "  I t would appear that Walpole, who " c a l l e d himself an  i n f i d e l , " confined h i s interest i n r e l i g i o n to i t s value as a curious outlet for human behaviour or as a feature of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l system in England.  He cared no more about conventional r e l i g i o n i n antiquity 79 than he did i n his own time. The complexity of the g o t h i c i s t s ' h i s t o r i c a l outlook reflected the semantic confusion which s t i l l existed.  The equation "gothic equals  medieval" had not simply replaced the e a r l i e r equation "gothic equals 80 barbarous." each other.  The two meanings existed at the same time and acted upon Since even i n the eyes of i t s advocates l i k e Warton, Hurd  and Percy the gothic was a product of an age that was s t i l l b a s i c a l l y barbarous,  the ostensibly neutral sense of the gothic was "medieval" was  framed by a mixture of admiration and contempt. advocates had several means of redeeming  Consequently, those  the gothic.  The anti-goths,  who were glad that they had been able to substitute a better taste f o r the gothic, accepted the fact that the gothic was the r e s u l t of barbarous times because i t confirmed their whole h i s t o r i c a l outlook. of  The advocates  the gothic started out with this difference i n outlook: they were  unsure that progress had been made, or that i t had been made without cost.  H i s t o r i c i s t s , l i k e Thomas Warton and, to some extent, Percy and  Hurd, could balance off the barbarity of the gothic by attempting to place i t within the context of medieval society.  When they managed to  free themselves from the burden of prejudice, they were able to view  58  societies and cultures not as competing, but as d i f f e r e n t .  One could  also overlook the crudeness or barbarity of the gothic i n order to further some chauvinistic or sentimental purpose, but the most promising way  to redeem the g o t h i c — t h e way followed by the l i t e r a r y  gothicists—  was to show that gothic barbarity i t s e l f had a p o s i t i v e aspect, that i t could y i e l d up an ideal world or could offer alternatives to the conventions of f i c t i o n . The works and l i f e of the Middle Ages had been seen through a f i l t e r of r a t i o n a l standards and expectations. the Middle Ages had been very poor.  As a r e s u l t , the reputation of  Specific charges i n this general  indictment originated i n history, fantasy, and ideology.  The following  outline of them w i l l consist of deliberate over-simplifications, because I am concerned here not with the best knowledge of medieval l i f e that was available to eighteenth-century scholars, but with the dubious knowledge, or image, of the medieval that influenced gothic f i c t i o n .  Since  discussion of s p e c i f i c gothic novels i n the succeeding parts of this study w i l l both depend upon and i l l u s t r a t e  this system of assumption,  have not supported i t here with careful documentation.  I  Such evidence  w i l l be clear enough i n the novels themselves.  Superstition In the past, superstition explained many events which the modern ( i . e . , enlightened) world could explain s c i e n t i f i c a l l y .  Widespread  ignorance about the natural system was matched by b e l i e f i n the existence of supernatural agents, such as s p r i t e s , elves, demons, succubi, and f a i r i e s , who wielded great power over human l i f e and fortune.  The cred-  ulous people were susceptible to almost any miraculous or f a n t a s t i c  59  story, no matter how outlandish or improbable. Religion The Roman Catholic Church exercised control over the Christian world i n matters of b e l i e f and i n matters of education and government. The Church used i t s moral and d o c t r i n a l authority to secure, sometimes secretly, enormous temporal power and wealth.  The Church hierarchy was  better organized and more r e s i s t a n t to change from within than any secular government, and i t s influence was international.  The Church  manipulated the behaviour and ideas of i t s believers through e n t i r e l y non-rational means, incorporating into i t s own r i t u a l s the superstitious b e l i e f s of the people; i t used superstitious threats to b u l l y even kings and princes into carrying out i t s p o l i c i e s .  Occasionally the Church  masqueraded as an i n t e l l e c t u a l force, but i t s method of argument was sophistic, i t s philosophy convoluted and scholastic.  In order to guar-  antee that i t s members would be open to manipulation, the Church made sure to monopolize:the means of education and to prohibit members from interpreting r e l i g i o u s texts or doctrines for themselves.  The Church  replaced reason with pomp, ceremony, and obedience to authority.  Social  Order The s o c i a l order of the medieval period was the feudal system; i t s  e t h i c a l code was chivalry.  After the breakdown of Roman authority,  people had to secure protection against the constant danger of murder, plunder and enslavement.  The feudal system offered a certain measure of  security but only at a t e r r i b l e price i n personal freedom. dignity and p r i v i l e g e were distributed inequitably.  Property,  Summary power over  60  l i f e was not eliminated but legitimized, concentrated the few who were warlords and landholders.  i n the hands of  A system of quasi-religious  obligations and oaths put off the threat of violence, or directed i t into a fanaticism which took for i t s most infamous outlet the b r u t a l i t y and absurdity of the Crusades.  But such sublimations  of power and  violence did not disguise the fact that most people were c h a t t e l s , without l e g a l , p o l i t i c a l , economic or personal r i g h t s .  Culture  and Cultural  Authority  Although the mingling of r e l i g i o u s and secular forces helped to determine the character of medieval a r t , the pre-Christian h i s t o r y of Europe was an equally powerful f a c t o r .  Medieval culture bore the i n d e l -  i b l e mark of 'the barbarians who had assisted i n dismantling Roman c i v i l i z a t i o n and had inherited i t s chaotic remains.  In their malicious  resentment of the balance, harmony and technical excellence of Roman a r t , the barbarians used i t s forms merely as a skeleton on which to hang their wild, disordered, extravagant embellishments.  When they t r i e d to  imitate Roman works, their own ignorance of the rules which governed their making, and the debased state into which the surviving Roman t r a d i t i o n had f a l l e n prevented them from creating anything more than a gross d i s t o r t i o n of the o r i g i n a l s .  The barbarians made a grotesque  caricature of a culture which they were unable to assimilate. reprehensible  The most  feature of medieval c u l t u r e — o n l y p a r t l y o f f s e t during the  Renaissance—was the gradual erosion of c l a s s i c a l authority, the s u b s t i tution of a t r a d i t i o n which was non-rational, outlandish, unregulated, superstitious, animistic, and pervaded by r e l i g i o u s dogma.  61  The advocates of the gothic answered these charges without a l i z i n g or denying them.  ration-  On the contrary, gothic f i c t i o n tended to  accept the charges, often seemed bent on proving them; at least gothic f i c t i o n r e l i e d on the reader's b e l i e f that they were true.  The p r e v a i l -  ing c r i t i q u e of medieval l i f e kept i t s appeal, but the conclusions which i t generated  for a r t , fantasy and l i t e r a t u r e changed as the p o s s i b i l i t i e s  for exploiting the past were r e a l i z e d .  The customary contempt f o r the  "primitive" stages of English history began to y i e l d to an appreciation of the danger, passion, and excitement  they could hold f o r the imagina-  tion. Hurd had made the c r u c i a l movement when he demonstrated that i t was possible to keep some measure of contempt for an era while admitting, at the same time, i t s imaginative p o t e n t i a l i t i e s .  Those p o t e n t i a l i t i e s  also existed by v i r t u e of the expanded range of aesthetic experience. Categories such as the picturesque (imported from p a i n t i n g ) , the sublime (imported from rhetoric and psychology), the melancholy (imported from homiletics), and the sentimental (imported from f i c t i o n and s o c i a l fashion) made up a new area of legitimacy where the gothic could be accepted.  They reconciled the apparent contradiction between contempt  for the Middle Ages and a taste f o r the gothic by making the necessary leeway for the imagination and i t s covert a f f i l i a t i o n s .  They allowed  for a separation between p o l i t i c a l or r e l i g i o u s convictions and fantasy. For example, while a nominal member of the Church of England might believe without reservation that the Church of Rome was an e v i l and perf i d i o u s f o r c e — a g r e e i n g with the charges against "gothic" r e l i g i o s i t y — he might also believe, as a l i t e r a r y amateur, that Catholic l i t u r g y ,  62  i n s t i t u t i o n s , and t r e a c h e r y were s u i t a b l e m a t e r i a l s f o r a w r i t e r o f f i c t i o n , because they  l e n t themselves r e a d i l y t o the sublime,  m e n t a l , the p i c t u r e s q u e , And  the s e n t i -  o r the melancholy.  s t r o n g c o n v i c t i o n s , or d i s p l a y o f them, d i d n o t n e c e s s a r i l y  l e a d to a s u p p r e s s i o n  of g o t h i c excess.  The sheer  indecency  g o t h i c was i t s c h i e f v i r t u e , f o r one purpose or another.  of the  Building a  case a g a i n s t f e u d a l i s m o r the C a t h o l i c C h u r c h — t h e o s t e n s i b l e aim o f much g o t h i c f i c t i o n — o f t e n r e q u i r e d t h a t the e v i l s be d e p i c t e d  with  d e t a i l e d thoroughness, so much so t h a t i t now seems t h a t the m o r a l i s t i c element was f r e q u e n t l y an a f t e r - t h o u g h t ,  the " e v i l s " the t r u e c e n t r e of  interest. The  impact o f the g o t h i c n o v e l depended on the rawness, n a t u r a l n e s s ,  crudeness o f i t s images.  A l t h o u g h no one, perhaps, wanted t o be t r a n s -  p o r t e d permanently t o the p r i m i t i v e environment which i t r e c r e a t e d , the w r i t e r could i n v i t e h i s readers recover  to v i s i t  i t temporarily  a s t o r e of f a n t a s t i c m a t e r i a l s which had been purged too s u c c e s s -  f u l l y from t h e i r own immediate e x p e r i e n c e s . to  i n order t o  Along with the opportunity  i n d u l g e the f a n t a s t i c a l came the o p p o r t u n i t y  t o t r y out f a n t a s t i c  s o l u t i o n s to v e r y r e a l problems. The  o l d derogatory  image o f the g o t h i c c o u l d be transformed  ways, each c o r r e s p o n d i n g t i e s t h a t were d i s c o v e r e d The  i n two  t o a d i f f e r e n t s e t of new, i n v i g o r a t i n g q u a l i in i t .  f i r s t way was n o s t a l g i c , e l e g i a c — a n d  b a s i c premise was t h a t e a r l i e r  l a t e r , Utopian.  Its  i n E n g l i s h h i s t o r y t h e r e had e x i s t e d a  n o b i l i t y of a c t i o n , a heroism o f endeavour, a genuine r e l i g i o u s f a i t h , a sympathy w i t h n a t u r e , a constant  ( i f misguided)  involvement  with  63  ceremony, pageantry, and r i t u a l , and a proper regard for s o c i a l subordination, which had disappeared since.  A l l these q u a l i t i e s could be  inferred from the ruined buildings which remained the most symbols of the past.  impressive  By arguing that separate, d i s t i n c t i v e c r i t i c a l  standards should be applied to gothic a r t and l i t e r a t u r e , h i s t o r i c i s t s and antiquaries had l a i d a foundation  for accepting gothic l i f e as valu-  able i n i t s e l f . Its loss became a cause for regret and lamentation.  The  antiquarian a c t i v i t i e s — c o l l e c t i n g , preserving, cataloguing,  various publishing—  the half-researches of Chatterton and Macpherson, the creation of modern imitations, such as the mock ruins and c a s t e l l a t e d country h o m e s — a l l these were a means of supplying the l o s s , of finding .some substitute that would be acceptable  to eighteenth-century  of loss of a valuable heritage was  captured  tastes.  The actual sense  i n James Macpherson's  81 Ossianic poems;  these drew upon the melancholic,  elegiac t r a d i t i o n  that had been re-established i n the early and middle eighteenth  century  82 by Young, B l a i r , Thomas Warton, and Thomas Gray  (the l a s t of whom  Macpherson influenced i n his study of f o l k poetry).  From the  melancholic  and contemplative poetry Macpherson had absorbed tone, theme and imagery: overblown, d i f f u s e , emotionally-charged description, emphasis on l o s t heroic ancestors and the decay of ancient v i r t u e , sympathetically reflected i n the wind-bleached landscape of the bard's world. antiquaries, who  Even the  l i k e d to think that they were interested i n the gothic  as scholars, not as enthusiasts, who  wanted to appear s c i e n t i f i c i n their  diligence, could not escape the elegiac s e n s i b i l i t y and i t s s o c i a l implications i n their work.  Their evocation of l o s t grandeur had more  64 influence on the new l i t e r a r y gothic than the scholarship they sought to encourage; f o r , the l i t e r a r y gothic was more concerned with r e - d i r e c t i n g a sense of personal and a r t i s t i c ancestry than with ordering and describing a n t i q u i t i e s . Considered for i t s l o s t splendour and vigour, the rawness of the gothic was made over, transformed into the quaintness of a culture which had not yet suffered the dubious improvements of sophistication, which had not yet substituted pragmatism f o r chivalry, cash value for honour, a mechanistic cosmos for the demons and s p i r i t s who  intervened regularly  i n mundane events; which had kept a place for richness, extravagance, heroism, supernaturalism, the grotesque and the p l a y f u l i n i t s a r t , l i t e r a t u r e and architecture. Such calculations of c u l t u r a l loss and gain were very persuasive on the emotional, associational l e v e l , and, although there did not at this time the wider c r i t i q u e of modernity that was  develop  the product of  nineteenth-century malaise and d i s a f f e c t i o n , there were discernible p o l i t i c a l overtones to the nostalgia.  Depending on the v i r t u e s a t t r i -  buted to the imaginary Goths, the previous ages could take on a tory or a whig cast.  Emphasis upon ancestral v i r t u e s such as f i e r c e independence,  respect for law and property, resistance to unjust authority, and  defence  of quasi-parliamentary p o l i t i c a l prerogatives amounted to a whiggish version of the gothic.  Emphasis upon chivalry, the adventures  of knights  and princes, the gorgeousness of pomp and ceremony, and the benevolence or wisdom of the feudal lord or the p r i e s t made up a tory version of the gothic.  In this way,  strong convictions did act as a p o s i t i v e censorship  on the gothic, by e n l i s t i n g the past i n service of contemporary ideology.  65 In either case, the crudeness was  of the g o t h i c — t h e absence of modernity—  i t s advantage; within this transformation of the gothic, defence of  modern progress was l i a b l e to fluctuate between mere l i p - s e r v i c e and the condescension  of the casual player of the game of fantasy.  Strict  anti-gothic moralism was unlikely i n this revised version of the gothic, however, since only favourable q u a l i t i e s survived the transformation. The second way of transforming gothic barbarity into something positive seems less favourable, because i t involved a drastic change i n ideas about the pleasures of l i t e r a t u r e . Its  origins were i n aesthetic and l i t e r a r y theory, with some secon-  dary references to Elizabethan and Jacobean spectacular theatre and to the poetry of melancholy.  I t did not share the motives or the h i s t o r i c a l  outlook of the other kind of t r a n s f o r m a t i o n — i n p a r t i c u l a r , i t did not partake of the elegiac s e n s i b i l i t y .  The most s i g n i f i c a n t feature of this  kind of transformation was that i t concentrated on terror as an aesthetic experience; on crime, criminals, victims, and abnormal psychology as especially worthy subjects for f i c t i o n ; and on the gothic as a l i m i t l e s s source of both. Within the terms of this transformation, the indictment against the gothic was accepted as substantially correct, as a p o l i t i c a l and assessment.  social  There was no dispute about.the superiority of the present  to the past i n material welfare and personal freedom.  Gothic l i f e was  indeed composed of a l l the horrors which an eighteenth-century Englishman was  quite glad to have put behind him.  Yet many of those horrors  still  held the power to provoke fear, and the reader of the gothic novel became w i l l i n g l y vulnerable to a kind of h a l f - a r t i f i c i a l terror l e s t the  66  horrid conditions r e t u r n . "  J  The discovery that i t was  possible to  accomplish this arousal through l i t e r a r y means, which were a f t e r a l l more transitory i n their e f f e c t s and more convenient than the sordid and dangerous practices of rumour-mongering and inventing conspiracies, inspired this second species of gothic. The arousal of political  anxieties, i n the narrow sense, was  not,  however, i t s main aim, and the l i s t of i t s more overtly p o l i t i c a l or r e l i g i o u s targets, such as monasticism, the I n q u i s i t i o n , and  feudal  tyranny, none of which i n r e a l i t y posed much of an immediate threat to the B r i t i s h constitution, shows that these m a t e r i a l s — s o  easily identi-  f i e d as objectionable, so automatic i n e l i c i t i n g response—were mere instruments.  The gothic f i c t i o n writer brought f o r t h f a m i l i a r prejudices  in order to set up a background of habitual b e l i e f against which other more fundamental, and p a i n f u l , anxieties might appear.  The ostensible  targets were usually disguises or v e h i c l e s , f o r such anxieties. The elegiac s e n s i b i l i t y succeeded i n separating p o l i t i c a l revulsion from l i t e r a r y invention, by regarding life—if  the unpleasant features of medieval  at a l l — a s a t y p i c a l , i n t r u s i v e , admittedly barbarous; by  culti-  vating an image of the gothic which would l i f t , temporarily, the dullness and imperfection of the modern world, which would cure the of the modern imagination.  The non-elegiac  elegiac image, could use i t for i t s own image was  sluggishness  gothic could contain this  purposes, but i n that event the  changed, as i f by a d i s t o r t i n g lens, by the l e s s w i s t f u l  treatment that the novelists gave i t .  They held the nostalgic transfor-  mation under suspicion, because they were l e s s s e l e c t i v e i n their regressions, because they were more a c t i v e l y skeptical about i d e a l  67  systems and the r e l i a b i l i t y of a l i e n s o c i e t i e s , and because they considered crudeness, s u p e r s t i t i o n , and violence the essential  character-  i s t i c s of the gothic world and t h e i r putative gothic ancestors.  They  acknowledged the appeal of c h i v a l r y , n o b i l i t y , grace, and s i m p l i c i t y — and were ready to c i t e these q u a l i t i e s i n support of t h e i r use of the gothic, i n order to associate i t with the l i g h t e r romance—but they f i n a l l y viewed the p o s i t i v e aspect of the gothic as contingent or deceptive.  The gothic n o v e l i s t s often p r a c t i c e d another form of p r i m i t i v i s m ,  holding the opinion that n a t u r a l b r u t a l i t y , not n a t u r a l v i r t u e , was the basis of the p r i m i t i v e s o c i e t y that was t h e i r subject.  Such b r u t a l i t y  was valuable, even admirable, as a source of f i c t i v e s i t u a t i o n s and f i g u r e s , not because i t confirmed  some theory of h i s t o r i c a l progress ( i n  which many of them probably b e l i e v e d ) , but because i t permitted a c l o s e r approach to such s e n s i t i v e topics as perverse s e x u a l i t y , c a p t i v i t y and oppression, and parental a u t h o r i t y , than seemed f e a s i b l e w i t h i n the conventions of the r e a l i s t i c novel. The b a r b a r i t y of the gothic was changed i n t o a p o s i t i v e force f o r l i b e r a t i n g n o v e l i s t s from t e c h n i c a l and thematic c o n s t r a i n t s .  Both  means of transforming gothic b a r b a r i t y met at one point of agreement: the range of imaginative options had been c o n s t r i c t e d unnecessarily and without advantage.  The second means of transformation resembled the  f i r s t i n that i t too included a sense of l o s s ; t h i s was hardly an e l e g i a c sense, however, f o r i t lamented the purgation from contemporary l i f e not of the p o s s i b i l i t y of grandeur, s i m p l i c i t y or c h i v a l r y , but of danger, i r r a t i o n a l i t y , m i r a c l e s , supernatural occurrences, unrelieved m a l i c e — and the unrestrained a r t that could embody a l l those p o s s i b i l i t i e s .  68  The  new  g o t h i c f i c t i o n c o u l d i n c l u d e the l i g h t e r , e l e g i a c s e n s i -  b i l i t y by b r i n g i n g i t i n t o a complementary r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h darker g o t h i c , l i k e the p a s t o r a l w i t h the a n t i - p a s t o r a l . t i o n was  e s p e c i a l l y common i n the works of Ann  the  This  primary,  conjunc-  R a d c l i f f e , where the  c o n t r a s t i n g t o n a l i t i e s , the l i n k i n g of moments of e x q u i s i t e s e n s i b i l i t y w i t h moments of p a n i c , d e s p a i r and  a b j e c t t e r r o r , was  mere n a r r a t i v e v a r i e t y or r e l i e f .  On  buted  the c o n t r a r y , t h i s p a i r i n g  were executed was  But even w i t h R a d c l i f f e , whose l i g h t e r moments  w i t h g r e a t a t t e n t i o n to d e t a i l and  painterly  composition,  known f o r her powers as a p i c t u r e s q u e a r t i s t as much as f o r her  powers as a maker of t e r r o r s , the l i g h t e r image was omen (and t h i s was  the a l i e n world  often only a  false  more c o n s i s t e n t l y t r u e w i t h Monk Lewis and C.  Maturin), a temporarily comforting of  contri-  to the poignance of the v i c t i m ' s s i t u a t i o n , to the s u b l i m i t y of  the c r i m i n a l f i g u r e s .  who  not a matter of  R.  facade behind which the d a r k e r  (and by proxy, the f a m i l i a r one)  was  lurking.  aspect In  f i c t i o n a l c o n f r o n t a t i o n s , the l i g h t e r e l e g i a c g o t h i c was n a t u r a l l y i d e n t i f i e d with c i v i l i t y , standards; ing,  decency, contemporary moral and  the darker n o n - e l e g i a c  g o t h i c was  ethical  u t t e r l y a l i e n and  by comparison, and none the l e s s f o r b e i n g unexpected and  threatenunprepared  for. C o n f r o n t a t i o n s between the two v e r s i o n s of the transformed were the r e g u l a r p a t t e r n i n the g o t h i c n o v e l s . determined two  important  t h e i r e f f e c t s — t h o u g h not  gothic  Such c o n f r o n t a t i o n s  f e a t u r e s of them: the n o v e l s were s u b v e r s i v e i n f o r the r e a s o n  always on p u r p o s e — a n d they managed to be  t h e i r c r i t i c s f e a r e d , and subversive  (or  not  educative)  through a s t r a t e g y of compromise w i t h the f a m i l i a r r e a l i t y from which  69 they departed. f i c a t i o n of of  this  The n a t u r e o f  that  the g o t h i c n o v e l w i l l  study.  s t r a t e g y and t h e t h e o r e t i c a l be the s u b j e c t s of  the next  justi-  sections  70  FOOTNOTES  ^See Georg Germann, "The Gothic i n Vitruvianism," Gothic Revival and Britain: Sources, Influences and Ideas, trans. Gerald Onn (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1972), pp. 9-52; Maurice Levy, Le Roman «Gothique» Anglais 1764-1824 (Toulouse: Association des publications de l a Faculte des l e t t r e s et sciences humaines de Toulouse, 1968), pp. 9-76; Paul Frankl, "The Period of Reaction Against Gothic," The  in  Europe  Gothic:  Literary  Sources  and  Interpretations  through  Eight  Centuries  (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1960), pp. 235-414; B. Sprague A l l e n , "The Challenge of the Middle Ages," Tides in English Taste (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1937), I I , Ch. 15; W. D. Robson-Scott, The Literary Background of the Gothic Revival i n Germany (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp. 4-25; Arthur 0. Lovejoy, "The F i r s t Gothic Revival and the Return to Nature," MLN, 27 (1932), 414-446, r p t . i n Essays in the History of Ideas (1948; r p t . New York: Capricorn, 1960), pp. 136-165. (Subsequent references are to Capricorn edition.) 2 A. E. Longueil, "The Word 'Gothic' i n Eighteenth Century C r i t i c i s m , " MLN, 38, 8 ( D e c , 1923), 453-460: ". . . i n the early Renaissance . . . the term 'gothic' took on a new and coloured meaning, a meaning that masked a sneer. To the Renaissance, mediaeval or Gothic architecture was barbarous architecture. By a trope a l l things barbarous.became 'Gothic'" (p. 453). 3 Robson-Scott, p. 2. Germann also finds this the point of o r i g i n for anti-gothic f e e l i n g . 4 George Henderson, Gothic (Harmondsworth.& Baltimore: Penguin, 1967), pp. 179-180. ^The f i r s t edition was published i n Florence i n 1550, an enlarged edition i n 1568. This t r a n s l a t i o n - i s from Frankl, p. 290; also quoted i n Germann, p. 38. ^See E. S. de Beer, "Gothic: Origin and D i f f u s i o n of the Term; The Idea of Style i n Architecture," JWCI, 11 (1948), 143-149; Robson-Scott, pp. 4-5. Germann (p. 11) notes that F i l a r e t e was also the f i r s t theorist to use the term , s t i l e (style) as a synonym for maniera (mode of handling); he adopted the term from i t s former exclusively r h e t o r i c a l usage. ^De Beer, p. 145. De Beer distinguishes between special and general uses of "gothic": to denote the Gothic people only, or a l l barbarians. He also separates these uses, which are s t i l l h i s t o r i c a l and more or less neutral from the pejorative l i t e r a r y use of "gothic." De Beer gives his account of the r e l a t i o n between l i t e r a r y and a r c h i t e c t u r a l terms: "This l i t e r a r y use [ i . e . , gothic equals barbarous].became common i n France i n the seventeenth century and i n England also i n the eighteenth. It affected the a r c h i t e c t u r a l term, so that some writers use the l a t t e r as meaning primarily tasteless. This l i t e r a r y usage and the special develop-  71 ment of i t have produced the common view that the s t y l i s t i c term o r i g i nated as a term of abuse" (p. 144). De Beer c i t e s Rabelais for an early example of the l i t e r a r y abuse of "gothic." Longeuil concurs i n the d i r e c t i o n of l i t e r a r y influence: from France to England (p. 455). De Beer, p. 145.  See also Frankl, p. 257, Germann, p. 11.  9 Robson-Scott, pp. 4-5;  de Beer, pp. 146-147.  "^Robson-Scott, p. 6. The term would have had to be adopted, espec i a l l y outside I t a l y , despite i t s h i s t o r i c a l inaccuracy (which was not concealed), i f only for lack of a better one. De Beer points out that the sixteenth-century I t a l i a n c r i t i c s l i k e Vasari or Sansovino had their own term "Tedesco" (German) which had been i n use since the f i f t e e n t h century and which had almost superseded the only major a l t e r n a t i v e , "moderne," by their time (p. 149). Germann suspects that Vasari was aware of the r e l a t i v e l y recent provenance of the buildings against which he was reacting (p. 38). This would make him g u i l t y of a deliberate d i s t o r t i o n for argumentative purposes; de Beer, however, believes that he used the e a r l i e r c r i t i c i s m s ineptly rather than d e l i b e r a t e l y . ''""'"See Samuel K l i g e r , The Goths in England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1952). Kliger i s interested i n t r i b a l , l i b e r t a r i a n and whiggish connotations of gothic. His basic premise i s that gothic was always used for p o l i t i c a l or i d e o l o g i c a l purposes, of various kinds, and h i s extensive l i s t of the confusions which made gothic mean C e l t i c , Scandinavian, Germanic or ancestral shows the p o t e n t i a l usefulness of the word. 12 " . . . the word 'ordine' acquires an authoritative s i g n i f i c a n c e which makes i t d i f f i c u l t to understand how the phrase 'ordine Tedesco', which was quite common i n the sixteenth century, could have been used i n a pejorative sense. Presumably, the situation w i l l have been similar to that obtaining around 1800 i n respect of the words 'style' and 'taste', for at that time, i t was possible to negate the normally p o s i t i v e force of these expressions by the mere addition of an adjective" (Germann, p. 14). Thus, i n I t a l y , the phrase ordine Tedesco could come to mean "order as a German would understand i t . " 13 Quoted i n Germann, p. 15. 14 "Vitruvius considered that structures evolved on a" regional or h i s t o r i c a l basis were part of the a r c h i t e c t ' s stock i n trade: they were available to him and he used them as and when appropriate. His d i s c i p l e s regarded German or Gothic structures i n much the same l i g h t : they used them because they were obliged to do so i n order to complete Gothic churches i n a conformist style!' -(Germann, p. 15). In V i t r u v i a n theory, the f i v e "antique" orders were generic types, invented for use only i n certain situations. A l a t e r development was the theory of "characters," according to which styles were e s p e c i a l l y suited to their uses (e.g., Church Gothic, Castle Gothic, etc.)(Germann, pp. 22-23).  72  Germann, p. 13. Cesariano: Cesare Cesariano prepared an edition of V i t r u v i u s ' t r e a t i s e (1521) i n which he t r i e d to show the v a l i d i t y of the theory by reference to a cross-sectional view of the o r i g i n a l plans for Milan Cathedral. "^Quoted i n Robson-Scott, pp. 10-11. "^Robson-Scott, p. 12. 18 Quoted i n Arthur 0. Lovejoy, "The F i r s t Gothic Revival," p.  145.  19 K l i g e r , pp. 1-2;  see also pp.  7-33.  20 Ibid., p. 3. "The translatio suggested f o r c e f u l l y an analogy between the breakup of the Roman empire by the Goths and the demands of the humanist-reformers of northern Europe for r e l i g i o u s freedom, i n t e r preted as l i b e r a t i o n from Roman p r i e s t c r a f t . . . the translatio crystall i z e d the idea that humanity was twice ransomed from Roman tyranny and d e p r a v i t y — i n antiquity by the Goths, i n modern times by their descendants, the German reformers. . . . The epithet 'Gothic' became not only a polar term i n p o l i t i c a l discussion, a trope for the 'free', but also i n r e l i g i o u s discussion a trope for a l l those s p i r i t u a l , moral, and c u l t u r a l values contained for the eighteenth century i n the single word 'enlightenment'" (pp. 33-34). 21 Kliger, pp. 4-6. 22 Lovejoy, p. 136. 23 Both quotations from Lovejoy, p. 137. 24 Lovejoy, pp. 137-139. "In the middle and l a t e eighteenth century this d i s t i n c t i o n [between 'gothic' and 'Saracenic'] became f a m i l i a r , and the style which we c a l l Gothic was commonly designated 'Saracenic', 'Arabic', or 'Arabesque'.-. . . Nevertheless, the same writers who, on occasion, distinguish 'the Gothic' from 'the Saracenic', sometimes continue to apply the former adjective to the l a t t e r s t y l e also, with or without the q u a l i f i c a t i o n 'modern'" (Lovejoy, p. 140). 25 B. Sprague A l l e n , i n Ch. XV of Tides in English Taste ("Classical C r i t i c i s m of 'Gothic Taste'"), notes the ready association of gothic with chinois or rococo work. Robson-Scott does not agree, however, that their status i n England was exactly equal. In Germany, he claims, the primary neo-classical target was the "baroque-rococo," and the recognized f a u l t s of the old gothic served to warn against the ultimate degeneracy of the "baroque-rococo." Here the assumed a f f i n i t y was so close that the term gothic often referred to objects that were, more p r e c i s e l y , baroque or rococo. But Robson-Scott argues that no such use of the gothic as a negative example was possible i n England "where the h o s t i l i t y to Gothic had nothing to do with a reaction against the baroque-rococo t r a d i t i o n . On the contrary, i n i t s early stages the Gothic Revival i n  V  73 England was i t s e l f an offshoot of that t r a d i t i o n . " Robson-Scott's argument would appear to depend on the fact that there was l i t t l e c r i t i c a l complaint against gothic s u r v i v a l i s t building i n England; the gothic that was maligned was the new imitative, e c l e c t i c gothic of M i l l e r and Wyatt, which was treated as a successor to the worst of the rococo. If anything, i n England the rococo gave occasion for c r i t i c i z i n g the gothic, not the reverse. (See Robson-Scott, pp. 15-16.) 26 Lovejoy, p. 141. See Warren Hunting Smith, Architecture in English F i c t i o n (1934; r p t . , Ann Arbor: Univ. Microfilms, 1966), pp. 3640; and V i r g i n i a M. Hyde, "From the 'Last Judgment' to Kafka's World: A Study i n Gothic Iconography," i n The Gothic Imagination: Studies in Dark Romanticism, ed. G. R. Thompson (Pullman: Washington State Univ. Press, 1974), pp. 134-138 f o r t h e . p o s i t i v e influence of l a t e gothic (Gothic Baroque or Perpendicular) architecture on l i t e r a r y images and associations. Both claim that the new gothic i n l i t e r a t u r e related almost exclusively to these l a t e r concrete sources. 27 The same complaint came f u l l c i r c l e to form the cornerstone of "Gothic Revival" theory i n England. Thus A. W. N. Pugin, i n h i s True P r i n c i p l e s of Pointed or C h r i s t i a n Architecture (1841), dictated: "There s h a l l be no features of a building which are not necessary for convenience, construction, and propriety" (p. 1).'- The f i r s t two terms are obvious, having to do with honesty i n use of materials and common sense i n use of space and design. Propriety, for Pugin, meant the r e f l e c t i o n i n architecture of proper h i e r a r c h i c a l r e l a t i o n s i n society, through the connections among buildings i n a community or among the units i n a building. See Robert MacLeod, Style and Society: Architectural Ideology in B r i t a i n 1835-1914 (London: RIBA, 1971), pp. 9-13 and passim. 28 Joseph Addison, The Spectator, No. 415 (Thursday, 26 June 1712), i n Eighteenth-Century English L i t e r a t u r e , ed. Geoffrey T i l l o t s o n et al. (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1969), p. 342. 29 Lovejoy, p. 143. 30 Joseph Addison, The Spectator, No. 62 (Friday, 11 May 1711), Addison and Steele: Selections from The Tatler and The Spectator, ed. Robert J. A l l e n (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1957), p. 109. Note also No. 70: "I know nothing which more shews the essential and inherent Perfection of Simplicity of Thought, above that which I c a l l the Gothick Manner i n Writing, than t h i s , that the f i r s t pleases a l l Kinds of Palates, and the l a t t e r only such as have formed to themselves a wrong a r t i f i c i a l Taste upon l i t t l e f a n c i f u l Authors and Writers of Epigram" (p. 122). There was some inconsistency, however, for i n this essay Addison was praising the s i m p l i c i t y of f o l k ballads l i k e "ChevyChase," whose popular appeal and transparency he opposes to the "Gothick." Later, of course, such songs were gathered up as the epitome of the gothic taste. "^Lovejoy, p. 146.  74 32  Ibid.,  p.  147.  33 Robson-Scott, p. 16. The l i s t of objectionable features indicates that the so-called ."Saracenic" gave the clearest examples of excess. 34 Ibid., p. 14; Lovejoy, p. 148. 35 S. Lang, "The P r i n c i p l e s of the Gothic Revival i n England, JSAH, 25 (1966), 242; see also de Beer, "Gothic: Origin and D i f f u s i o n of the Term," p. 157, and "Gothic and Some Other A r c h i t e c t u r a l Terms," appendix to The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E. S. de Beer (Oxford: OUP, 1955), I, 1-3. Germann sets a r e l a t i v e l y e a r l i e r date for the occurrence of " s t y l e " i n English than i n other languages, but he makes i t clear that i t usually referred to continuous,-not r a d i c a l l y c o n f l i c t i n g , modes (Gothic Revival, p. 27). Lang, pp. 242-243.  Also de Beer, "Origin and D i f f u s i o n , " pp.  156-  162. 37 Taste,  38  Kenneth Clark, The Gothic Revival: An Essay in the History 2nd edn.(London: Constable, 1950), pp. 28-29.  of  H. M. Colvin, "Gothic Survival and Gothick Revival," Architectural Review, 104 (Oct., 1948), 91-92. This practice could overrule other considerations—under neo-Vitruvian doctrines, even the c l a s s i c a l canon (Germann, p. 181). Clark d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between outright conservatism, which would have been more d o c t r i n a i r e and self-conscious, and the f e e l ing prevalent i n the Oxford design community, that gothic was simply the natural mode for the type of building required. Colvin c i t e s equally gothic projects outside Oxford, and l i s t s masons from Yorkshire and London who worked at Oxford to show that Oxford did not "enjoy a monopoly of masons who worked i n Gothic" (p. 92). 39 See Colvin, p. 92, Lovejoy, p. 151. 40 It would be unfair, however, to press too far with this connection. By no means a l l the r e s u l t s of the Grand Tour were unfavourable to gothic architecture. John Evelyn's outburst about the "Crincle-Crancle" of gothic appeared i n the second, posthumously published e d i t i o n of An Account of Architects and Architecture, an appendix to his t r a n s l a t i o n of Freart's P a r a l l e l (1707 ie'dn.,). Previous references to the gothic i n his Diary were much more p o s i t i v e (see Lang, p. 245, n. 30, and de Beer, "Architectural Terms," passim.). Lang supposes that Evelyn changed h i s mind to conform to the change i n fashion: " i t i s clear that about 1700 Gothic was 'out' and the I t a l i a n a t e was ' i n ' " (p. 245). Architects l i k e Wren and Hawksmoor who were educated i n the I t a l i a n s t y l e s and were sure of the i n f e r i o r i t y of the gothic used i t , nevertheless, when the occasion seemed to require i t , both f o r the sake of conformity and conservation and, as Colvin points out (p. 92) for the sake of " s t r u c t u r a l experiment." ^ Lang, pp. 240-243 and passim. 1  p. 3.  Also de Beer, "Architectural Terms,"  75 42  Lang, pp. 243-245; also Germann, Part I, Ch. 6, "The Concept of H i s t o r i c a l Development." 43 Robson-Scott notes that "though this i n t e r e s t i s c e r t a i n l y a n t i quarian rather than aesthetic i n flavour, i t does at least show that the Gothic buildings were not forgotten. For the most part these writers seem to have accepted the Gothic style as a matter of course and even i n some cases to have evinced a d e f i n i t e l i k i n g f o r i t " (pp. 18-19). And Maurice Levy: "Les travaux des antiquaires . . . montrent, mieux que l a construction de rares eglises ou mieux que quelques temoignages oublies, l a persistance, tout au long de l'epoque classique, d'un interet l i m i t e mais r e a l pour 1'architecture medievale. Grace a ces erudits furent redecouverts les grands monuments nationaux d'un passe glorieux . . . " (Le Roman «Gothique» Anglais, p. 13). 44 Lang, p. 248, c i t i n g T. Kendrick, British Antiquity (London: 1950) and J . Evans, A History of the Society of Antiquaries (Oxford: 1956). The Monasticon was the work of S i r William Dugdale (1605-1686) who c o l laborated with Roger Dodsworth. Further editions were published i n 1664 and 1673. 45 Quoted i n Lang, pp. 249-250, from S. Piggott, William Stukeley (Oxford: 1950), p. 56. The Society of Antiquaries had been rejuvenated i n 1707. ^ L a n g , p.  250.  47 Frankl, The Gothic,  p.  395.  48 See B. Sprague A l l e n , Tides in English Taste, I I , Ch. XIV, "The Challenge of the Middle Ages," Part I, "The P e r s i s t i n g Interest i n Gothic Architecture before Walpole"; Robson-Scott, pp. 18-24; Charles L. Eastlake, A History of the Gothic Revival, ed. J . Mordaunt Crook (1872; rpt. and rev., Leicester: Leicester Univ. Press: 1970), pp. 6-19; Kenneth Clark, The Gothic Revival, pp. 30-35; Frankl, pp. 396-414; Lionel Gossmann, Medievalism and the Ideologies of the Enlightenment: The World and Work of La Curne de Sainte-Palaye (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1968), p. 329 f f . 49 The topographical work was also carried through by William G i l p i n ' s picturesgue tours, and h i s essay "On Picturesque Travel," i n Three Essays (London: R. Blamire, 1792). The new vogue for tours produced a vast l i t e r a t u r e , including: William Hutchinson, Excursion to the Lakes (1776), Joseph Budworth, Fortnight's Ramble to the Lakes (1792), William Thompson, Tour of England and Scotland (1788), and tour descriptions by Daniel Defoe, John Wilkes, Tobias Smollett, Joseph Warton, and Arthur Young, a l l of which contained detailed accounts of both natural scenery and a r c h i tecture. One of the most p r o l i f i c successors to the topographers was John B r i t t o n who produced his series The Beauties of England and Wales i n 18 vols, between 1800 and 1816, and four volumes of The Architectural A n t i q u i t i e s of Great Britain i n 1814, with a f i f t h i n 1818, i n addition  76  to The Cathedral A n t i q u i t i e s of Great Britain Picturesque Views of English C i t i e s (1830). 5 0  C l a r k , p.  (series from 1814), and See A l l e n , I I , 200-206.  31.  ^"*"HW to Cole, 5 June 1775. Horace Walpole's Correspondence with the Rev. William Cole, ed. W. S. Lewis & A. Dayle Wallace (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1937), I, 375 (Vol. I of HW's Correspondence). For brevity's sake, subsequent references to Lewis' e d i t i o n of the Correspondence will appear i n t h i s form: Corr., Volume Number, page. The volume numbers are those running through the whole s e r i e s , not those peculiar to the i n d i vidual correspondences. F u l l information on dates of publication i s presented i n the Bibliography. 5 2  A l l e n , I I , 98-99.  53 For Walpole's e c l e c t i c use of salvaged pieces, see Horace Walpole, A Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole . . . at StrawberryHill , etc. (1784; facsimile r p t . Farnborough: Gregg, 1969). 54 W. H. Smith, Architecture  in English  F i c t i o n , p. 8.  Ibid., pp. 25-26. "^Horace Walpole, Anecdotes of Painting, i n The Works of Horatio Walpole, Earl of Orford (London: G. G. & J . Robinson, and J . Edwards, 1798), I I I , 94. Unfortunately, this passage has been read so as to y i e l d an opinion more favourable to the gothic than Walpole meant to convey i n the f u l l context i n which i t occurs. Although he c i t e d the cases of Inigo Jones, Wren, and Kent, who "blundered into the heaviest and clumsiest compositions whenever they aimed at imitations of the Gothic," i n order to prove that i t could not be a "despicable" s t y l e , Walpole was c a r e f u l to q u a l i f y the force of h i s comparison (see daggered footnote, pp. 94-95). At the head of the paragraph immediately following this passage, he wrote: "I c e r t a i n l y do not mean by t h i s l i t t l e contrast to make any comparison between the r a t i o n a l beauties of regular a r c h i tecture and the unrestrained licentiousness of that which i s c a l l e d Gothic." Walpole's recognition of the power of the gothic was important, nevertheless, for the kind of f i c t i o n he helped to create. 55  "^For examination of important works of l i t e r a r y antiquarianism, see Arthur Johnston, Enchanted Ground: The Study of Medieval Romance in the Eighteenth Century (London: Athlone Press, 1964). See also Clark, p. 35, pp. 41-43, and Joan Pittock, The Ascendancy of Taste: The Achievement of Joseph and Thomas Warton (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973), pp. 170-171. Clark and Pittock disagree over the connection between l i t e r a r y and a r c h i t e c t u r a l developments, Clark arguing that the allowances made for Shakespeare and Spenser i n l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m opened the f i e l d for gothic taste i n architecture, Pittock that antiquarian research was a more l i k e l y influence.  77 58  J. Mordaunt Crook, i n his introduction to the facsimile r e p r i n t of Eastlake's History of the Gothic Revival, discusses the r e v i v a l of interest i n medieval a r t and customs that had already started during the reign of Elizabeth (pp. <27-28>). 59 Richard Hurd, Letters on Chivalry and Romance, with the Third Elizabethan Dialogue, ed. Edith J . Morley (London: Henry Frowde, 1911). A l l l a t e r page references w i l l be given within the text. ^The t r a v e l l e r s would have consulted Dugdale's A n t i q u i t i e s of Warwickshire (1656). ^Walpole, Anecdotes 62  of Painting,  Works, I I I , 485.  L o n g u e i l , "The Word 'Gothic'','" PP- 456-457.  William C. Holbrook. "The Adjective Gothique Century," MLN, 56, 6 (Nov., 1941), 501.  i n the XVIIIth  64 The most important of the " p a i n f u l c o l l e c t o r s " was Jean Baptiste de La Curne de Sainte-Palaye (1697-1781), whose Memoires sur 1'ancienne chevalerie (1746; torn, xx of Histoire de l'Academie des Inscriptions et B e l l e s - L e t t r e s ) was the major source-book for the Letters. ^ I n an i n t e r p o l a t i o n i n Letter VI made i n the sixth e d i t i o n of the Letters (1788), Hurd explained the superior richness of gothic superstition as l i t e r a r y material by pointing to i t s o r i g i n s . C h r i s t i a n supernaturalism (which Hurd did not connect with the e s s e n t i a l b e l i e f s of C h r i s t i a n i t y ) augmented the previous stock of f a n t a s t i c a l images, so that the gothic writers had a more mature and heterogeneous mythology to work with. 66  Johnston, pp. 100-107.  See also Pittock, p. 190.  ^Thomas Percy (Bishop of Dromore), Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, ed. Thomas Percy, 4th edn.(1794; r p t . London: L. A. Lewis, 1839), I, x i i . Percy believed the f o l i o had been c o l l e c t e d by Thomas Blount (1618-1679), the lawyer and antiquarian (pp. xx-xxi). Later page references w i l l be given within the text. 68 Percy's main sources for manuscripts or printed material were the Pepysian Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge (Pepys and Selden c o l l e c t i o n s ) , the Ashmolean Library, Oxford (Anthony a Wood c o l l e c t i o n ) , the archives of the Antiquarian Society, London, and the B r i t i s h Museum. 69 See Percy's "Essay on the Ancient M e t r i c a l Romances," Reliques, I I I , 2-38. °See'-: Lovejoy, p. 159, pp. 152-158. 7  78  A l l e n , I I , 170-171 (Allen's paraphrase). Mason's concern for authenticity had i t s l i m i t s . He argued with William G i l p i n over the use of purely decorative objects to complete a picturesque view, and saw nothing wrong with applying gothic facades to u t i l i t a r i a n buildings, such as barns, or with building a r t i f i c i a l ruins, a l l of which G i l p i n strongly d i s l i k e d . See C. P. Barbier, William Gilpin: His Drawing, Teaching, and Theory of the Picturesque (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963), pp. 117-120. 72 See Devendra P. Varma, The Gothic Flame (London: Arthur Barker, 1957), p. 19, and Bertrand Evans, Gothic Drama from Walpole to Shelly (Berkeley & Los Angeles: Univ. of C a l i f . Press, 1947), p. 7. 73 Horace Walpole to Richard Bentley, September, 1753, Selected Letters of Horace Walpole, W. S. Lewis (New Haven & London: Yale Univ. Press, 1973), p. 47.  74  Walpole, Selected ^W. p. 46.  Letters,  S. Lewis, Horace Walpole  p. 47. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1961),  ^ E a s t l a k e ' s reticence, i n h i s History of the Gothic Revival, when discussing problems of doctrine or symbolism shows that he was uncomfortable with the already v i s i b l e l i n k between the gothic and AngloCatholicism (or Roman Catholicism, which A. W. Pu'gin openly professed); he was nervous l e s t a l l advocates of the gothic style be assumed to be Catholics, overt or covert. ^Walpole, Selected  Letters,  p. 50.  78  Lewis, pp. 124,  127.  79 Ibid., p. 5. Lewis cites Walpoliana, ed. John Pinkerton (London: 1799), I, 74. "Fontenelle's Dialogues on the P l u r a l i t y of Worlds, f i r s t rendered me an i n f i d e l . C h r i s t i a n i t y , and a p l u r a l i t y of worlds, are, i n my opinion, i r r e c o n c i l e a b l e . Indeed, one would be puzzled enough to reconcile modern discoveries on t h i s globe alone, with any divine revel a t i o n . I never try to make converts; but expect and claim to enjoy my own opinion, and other people may enjoy t h e i r s . . . . Intolerance i s , ipso facto, a proof of falsehood. . . . Atheism I d i s l i k e . It i s gloomy, uncomfortable; and, i n my eye, unnatural and i r r a t i o n a l . . . . I go to church sometimes, i n order to induce my servants to go to church. I am no hypocrite, I do not go i n order to persuade them to believe what I do not believe myself. A good moral sermon may instruct and benefit them. I only set them an example of l i s t e n i n g , not believing (Walpoliana, 2nd ed. [1804], I, 74-76). 80  Longueil, "The Word 'Gothic'," p.  458.  ^"Slacpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry Collected 1760, Fingal, An Ancient Epic, 1761-62, Temora, An Epic  in the Highlands, Poem, 1763.  79  °^Edward Young, The Complaint, or Night Thoughts, 1742-46, Robert B l a i r , The Grave, 1743, Thomas Warton, The Pleasures of Melancholy,11kl, Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, 1751. 83 See Levy, Le Roman Gothique Anglais, pp. 613-614, for an argument connecting the gothic s e n s i b i l i t y with the Revolution of 1688. Levy pushes past his discussion of the meditative and melancholic uses of the gothic (building) to suggest a p o l i t i c a l symbolism almost i d e n t i c a l with what Hurd has Addison present i n the Third Dialogue. The gothic r u i n reminds the perceiver of past tyranny and present l i b e r t y ; i t i s a memori a l to the guarantees that support.the r e l i g i o u s and p o l i t i c a l e s t a b l i s h ment.  CHAPTER II VITALITY IN FICTION  The Mixed Mode Sir Walter Scott was  the f i r s t c r i t i c  to note the close  connection  between Horace Walpole's work as an architect and his work as a writer, and i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Scott found that the chief c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of both was  Walpole's e f f o r t to s t r i k e a compromise between the f a n t a s t i c a l  and the probable, between the antique and the modern: As, i n his model of a Gothic modern mansion, our author had studiously endeavoured to f i t to the purposes of modern convenience, or luxury, the r i c h , varied, and complicated tracery and carving of the ancient cathedral, so, i n The Castle of Otranto, i t was his object to unite the marvellous turn of incident, and imposing tone of c h i v a l r y , exhibited i n the ancient romance, with that accurate display of human character, and contrast of feelings and passions, which i s , or ought to be delineated i n the modern novel. . . . It was his object to draw such a picture of domestic l i f e and manners, during the feudal times, as might actually have existed, and to paint i t checkered and agitated by the action of supernatural machinery, such as the superstition of the period received as matter of devout c r e d u l i t y . The natural parts of the narrative are so contrived, that they associate themselves with the marvellous occurrences; and, by the force of that association, render those speciosa miracula s t r i k i n g and impressive, though our cooler reason admits their i m p o s s i b i l i t y . Comparing the evocative effects of the gothic story and the neo-gothic building upon the modern s e n s i b i l i t y , Scott concluded that: It i s . . . almost impossible to b u i l d such a modern Gothic structure as s h a l l impress us with the feelings we have endeavoured to describe. It may be grand, or i t may be gloomy; i t may excite magnificent or melancholy ideas; but i t must f a i l i n bringing forth the sensation of supernatural awe, connected with h a l l s that have echoed to the sounds of remote generations. . . . Yet Horace Walpole has attained i n  - 80 -  81  composition, what, as an architect, he must have f e l t beyond the power of h i s a r t . ^ Scott's own experiences as a writer and a builder put him i n a good position to r e a l i z e the d i f f i c u l t y of r e c o n c i l i n g old forms and themes with modern tastes.  Like Walpole, he was aware of the pleasures of  imitating a n t i q u i t i e s and of the natural connection between l i t e r a r y and decorative impulses.  At Abbotsford, "there was a f i n e spring of clear  water, which Scott enclosed i n a Gothic well-front made of some of the stones he had acquired from Melrose Abbey.  With the lime c a r e f u l l y  blackened and moss put between the j o i n t s , i t looked, he boasted happily, at least three hundred years o l d .  'In honor of an old Melrose saint I  have put an i n s c r i p t i o n i n a gothic Latin verse, AVE, AVE,  SANCTE.  WALDAVE', 'and I intend that willows and weeping birches s h a l l droop over 2  i t with a background of ever-greens'."  Most of the materials for this  tableau were genuinely ancient, but the associative concept that governed i t was  s t r i c t l y modern.  The problem of forming a synthesis, and the  temptation to apply l i t e r a r y and a r c h i t e c t u r a l solutions interchangeably, persisted from Walpole's time to Scott's. Walpole himself saw his building and his f i c t i o n - w r i t i n g as parts of a common project, and he invited comparison between them.  Sometimes  the connection that Walpole indicated was merely coincidental, as when he pointed out to the Rev. William Cole, who of  had been reading The  Otranto: You w i l l even have found some t r a i t s to put you i n mind of this place [Strawberry H i l l ] , When you read of the picture q u i t t i n g h i s panel, did you not r e c o l l e c t the p o r t r a i t of Lord Falkland a l l i n white i n my gallery?  Castle  82  Yet,  there was a deeper, more fundamental connection between Straw-  berry H i l l and The Castle  of Otranto,  for the methods and p r i n c i p l e s of  creation were much the same i n both cases.  For this reason, an account  of the assembling of the r e a l "Castle" w i l l help to explain the characteri s t i c s of Otranto,  and w i l l introduce the gothic s e n s i b i l i t y which shaped  both creations. Walpole bought the o r i g i n a l Strawberry H i l l i n 1749, when he was 4 thirty-two years old.. He had held the lease on the property for the two years preceding. Between 1749 and 1790 the estate expanded from f i v e acres to f o r t y - s i x and underwent almost continual new construction, while Walpole collected i n h i s home such a deluge of rare, curious or precious a r t i c l e s that the Description  of 1781 was already obsolete when i t came  to the press and required several appendices for recent a r r i v a l s . Walpole's e a r l i e s t accounts of h i s property did not promise that he would make i t into anything extraordinary. His description to Horace Mann, i n the l e t t e r of 5 June 1747, was jokingly modest and demeaning: The house i s so small, that I can send i t to you i n a l e t t e r to look at: the prospect i s as d e l i g h t f u l as possible, commanding the r i v e r , the town, and Richmond Park; and being situated on a h i l l descends to the Thames through two or three l i t t l e meadows, where I have some Turkish sheep and two cows, a l l studied i n their colours for becoming the view. . . .so I s h a l l grow as much a shepherd as any swain i n the Astraea. Walpole's l e t t e r to Henry Conway three days l a t e r repeated the comparison between Strawberry H i l l and a tiny "bijou"  (a previous occupant had been  Mrs. Chevenix, "the toy-woman a la mode"): It i s a l i t t l e plaything house that I got out of Mrs. Chevenix' s shop, and i s the p r e t t i e s t bauble you ever saw. I t i s set i n enamelled meadows, with f i l i g r e e hedges. . . . Dowagers as plenty as founders inhabit a l l around, and Pope's  83  ghost i s j u s t now skimming under my window by a most p o e t i c a l moonlight. I have about l a n d enough to keep such a farm as Noah's, when he s e t up i n the a r k w i t h a p a i r of each kind. . . . ,  6  Walpole's i n t e n t i o n was to  to have a r e f u g e f a r enough away from London  p r o v i d e an excuse f o r the f r e q u e n t absences from P a r l i a m e n t which he  desired.  From here he c o u l d w r i t e to h i s p o l i t i c a l p r o t e g e Conway, w i t h  a m i x t u r e of f e i g n e d d i s i n t e r e s t and r e a l d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , about an e l e c t i o n campaign j u s t now  i n which " a l l England, under some name or o t h e r , i s  to be bought  f o r e f a t h e r s , we  and s o l d ; though, whenever we become p o s t e r i t y  and  s h a l l be i n h i g h r e p u t e f o r wisdom and v i r t u e . " ^  Although the o r i g i n a l house a t Strawberry H i l l , b u i l t by the E a r l o f  g B r a d f o r d ' s coachman,  had n o t h i n g t o recommend i t a r c h i t e c t u r a l l y , i t d i d  have advantages i n l o c a t i o n and a s s o c i a t i o n s : the neighbourhood  was  f a s h i o n a b l e but not y e t populous enough t o d i s q u a l i f y i t from b e i n g fashionably r u r a l . list  With the p r o p e r t y Walpole had a l s o gained a p l e a s i n g  of antecedent n e i g h b o u r s : "Essex, Bacon, L o r d C l a r e n d o n . . . Lady 9  Mary Wortley Montagu, Pope and F i e l d i n g . "  And h i s f a n c y of Pope's  ghost r e v i s i t i n g t h i s p a r t o f Twickenham showed h i s p o e t i c  aspirations  i n a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y w h i m s i c a l way. The g o t h i c i s m o f Strawberry H i l l was  an a d j u n c t to the more conven-  t i o n a l p l e a s u r e s of g e n t e e l f a r m i n g , r u r a l s e c l u s i o n , and w i t h the famous, and l i k e them i t was casualness. the  caught up i n the paradox of s t u d i e d  not w h i m s i c a l , a c c i d e n t a l , or spontaneous,  g o t h i c i s m had to be shown as such.  t h e r e was to  Even i f i t was  associations  As an a i d to t h i s d e c e p t i o n ,  l i t t l e e a r l y h i n t of Walpole's d e d i c a t i o n to a p a r t i c u l a r  i n d i c a t e what d i r e c t i o n h i s b u i l d i n g would  take.  There was,  at  style first,  84 no thesis to demonstrate.  Walpole did not draw up a comprehensive  plan  u n t i l the work was v i r t u a l l y complete, describing i t instead i n l e t t e r s as i t grew.  The reference to Pope's ghostly, i n s p i r a t i o n a l presence i s  suggestive of his intentions, but vague.  S i m i l a r l y , Walpole's continued  use of secret "Persian" nicknames i n writing to the other members of the Quadruple A l l i a n c e ^ signalled a taste for the exotic, the f a n t a s t i c a l , the dramatic—but not necessarily the gothic.  Thus, i t was p l a i n that  Walpole's creation would be an indulgence of fantasy before i t was what sort of fantasy would be indulged.  plain  In this apparent nonchalance and  randomness, the creation of Strawberry H i l l resembled the creation of The Castle  of Otranto.  As Walpole told Mason, i n s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n ,  Otranto  was . . . begun without any plan at a l l , for though i n the short course of i t s progress I did conceive some views, i t was so far from being sketched out with any design at a l l , that i t was actually commenced one evening, from the very imperfect r e c o l l e c t i o n of a dream with which I waked i n the morning.^ Of the famous dream, more l a t e r . gave form to Otranto  Whether or not Walpole actually  spontaneously, almost i n t u i t i v e l y , as i n s p i r a t i o n  and the force of h i s dream prompted him, what matters i s that he pretended to have done so, and that he seemed to have b u i l t Strawberry H i l l simil a r l y , without a simple idea of i t s f i n a l shape to guide him. resemblance w i l l emerge i n this discussion: l i k e Otranto,  A further  Strawberry  H i l l was the continuation of a dream and was the product of "very imperfect r e c o l l e c t i o n . " Walpole's f i r s t improvements did not change the character of the old  cottage i n any important way,  and i t i s i n d i c a t i v e of his motives  that, whatever s i z e , shape or s t y l e of house he was imagining, h i s  85 i n i t i a l attention was  to comfort and p r a c t i c a l i t y .  He hired William  Robinson, Clerk of the Works at Greenwich Hospital, to design, but mostly to supervise, some rudimentary work; i t seems that Robinson's major job  12 was  to move the kitchen.  Like many architects and builders of the time,  Robinson's involvement with the gothic was i n c l i n a t i o n or professional t r a i n i n g . compliant and because "he knew how  by contract more than by  Walpole valued him because he  to b u i l d an eighteenth-century  was  house  13 which, although i t might wear out, would not f a l l down." his  successors  Robinson and  occasionally influenced Walpole's s t y l i s t i c  mainly they gave him the kind of p r a c t i c a l engineering in order to make his fantasies endure. building mere " f o l l i e s , " this was  Since he was  choices;  s k i l l s he needed  not interested i n  an important consideration.  Walpolees c o n f l i c t i n g motives for adopting the gothic s t y l e and his uneven talents for understanding and using i t affected a l l the friends  14 and architects whom he enlisted i n carrying through the project.  Such  contradictory influences included his fascination with the d e t a i l s and the associations of gothic buildings; his lack of knowledge of, and concern f o r , the basic p r i n c i p l e s of medieval construction; and his wish not to "make my house so Gothic as to exclude convenience, and modern refinements i n luxury."  Walpole claimed  that "the designs of the inside  and outside are s t r i c t l y ancient, but the decorations called the mixture, quoting from Pope, "A Gothic Rome."^  are modern," and  Vatican  of Greece  What Walpole meant by "decorations" were not the  and  transplanted  tombs and portals which formed his bookcases and chimney-pieces, but books, paintings, sculpture, and china that he had c o l l e c t e d .  the  Walpole  defended the inconsistency between these objects and the rooms they  86 f i l l e d by asking a strange r h e t o r i c a l question: Would our ancestors, before the reformation of architecture, not have deposited i n their gloomy castles antique statues and fine pictures, beautiful vases and ornamental china, i f they had possessed them? lo Walpole must have realized the feebleness of the suggestion that he  was  somehow f u l f i l l i n g the intention of h i s gothic ancestors, for he conceded that he did not mean "to defend by argument a small capricious house" which "was b u i l t to please my taste, and i n some degree to r e a l i z e my own v i.s i•o n s . „17 More fundamental contrasts between the antique and the modern at Strawberry H i l l resulted from various factors: Walpole's limited knowledge of the gothic, his piecemeal building strategy, h i s deliberate abandonment of a conventional ground-plan, and h i s placing of comfort above purity of s t y l e .  Walpole "loved comfort, and so we do not find  him erecting a desolate monastery l i k e F o n t h i l l Abbey.  Strawberry  Hill 18  i s e s s e n t i a l l y a snug l i t t l e manor-house, dressed up i n Gothic clothes." One concession to the modern idea of a manor-house was  the adapting  of e c c l e s i a s t i c a l architecture, which gave most of the formal i n s p i r a t i o n for  Strawberry H i l l , to the normal cube-shaped room space.  Walpole had  no use for other, more obviously domestic, gothic characters.  He detested  the Tudor manner and the r e v i v a l gothic of the time of James I, consider19 ing  these "bastard" s t y l e s .  Castles, such as Vanbrugh and Sanderson  M i l l e r had attempted, were picturesque but hard to heat, and  spatially  either overwhelming or p a l t r y , depending on the builder's ambition.  The  sociable Walpole was not about to shut himself up i n drafty monumental h a l l s ; he aimed at the charming, the mysterious,  the picturesque, but  87  not the sublime.  He was l e f t with e c c l e s i a s t i c a l gothic models by  default. Walpole l a i d a surface of gothic embellishments as-box.  on the basic room-  Even the Tribune or Cabinet he described as a "square with a  semi-circular recess i n the middle of each side . . . and with windows 20 and niches." lintel.  The construction method remained the usual post-and-  Perhaps Essex, who had spent time on the Continent studying 21  gothic building technique,  might have relieved Walpole's ignorance on  the subject of vaulting, but the only evidence that Walpole cared about t r a d i t i o n a l workmanship was his employment of Thomas Gayfere, master 22 mason at Westminster Abbey, to build the garden chapel i n 1772. The attempt at fanvaulting i n the Gallery at Strawberry, "taken from one of 23 the side i s l e s [sic] of Henry 7th's. chapel,"  gives a f u l l i l l u s t r a t i o n  of the l i m i t s of Walpole's a r c h i t e c t u r a l understanding; i t consisted of a rectangle of elaborate gothic tracery and pendants cut out to the right size and f i t t e d into place l i k e a false c e i l i n g , without s t r u c t u r a l or formal r e l a t i o n to the rest of the room. In assembling the gothic surface for his house, Walpole often used bogus modern materials and mismatched elements.  Strawberry H i l l  was  f u l l of plaster mouldings, Portland cement, stucco, and wallpapers posing as masonry.  The main staircase, for example, which Walpole considered  the e f f e c t i v e centre of the piece, was lined with a "paper painted i n 24  perspective to represent Gothic fretwork."  Like the gothic garden  ruins which became popular i n the 1720's—and which sometimes were mere facades l i k e stage sets—Strawberry H i l l was meant to be v i s u a l l y  impres-  sive and r i c h i n d e l i g h t f u l l i t e r a r y and h i s t o r i c a l associations but  88  Walpole did not expect to go through the trouble and expense of building a cathedral i n order to achieve such e f f e c t s .  One of h i s shortcuts was  to l i f t either the design of a church f i x t u r e or the f i x t u r e i t s e l f of  i t s o r i g i n a l context, and to turn i t to some other use.  out  Thus, the  pattern for the gothic wallpaper i n the entrance h a l l and staircase was taken from Prince Arthur's tomb i n Worcester Cathedral; the c e i l i n g of the China Room was designed by Muntz after one i n the Borghese v i l l a at F r a s c a t i ; f l o o r t i l e s were obtained from Gloucester Cathedral; the roof of the Tribune imitated that of the Chapter House, York Minster; the c e i l i n g of the Holbein Room was after that of the royal dressing-room  i n Windsor  Castle; the entrance screen was copied from the choir of Rouen Cathedral. The l i s t of borrowings and transplantings continues with f a i r l y acknowledgment throughout Walpole's Description  open  of Strawberry H i l l .  Walpole and Chute were not singularly ingenious i n making these adaptations.  Their c o l l e c t i n g was partly the r e s u l t of the same a c q u i s i -  tive passion that had made English tourists i n Italy and France g u l l i b l e , 25 voracious consumers of landscape and genre painting;  partly the result  of Walpole's desire to secure himself i n the company of "old c a s t l e s , old  pictures, old h i s t o r i e s " ; partly the r e s u l t of the same e c l e c t i c  reaction against neo-classical purism that culminated i n the a r c h i t e c t u r a l confections of Vauxhall. The ground-plan of Strawberry H i l l reflected Walpole's divided a l l e g i a n c e — t o modernity and to h i s t o r i c a l fantasy—and also his gradual way of completing the project. rically  Strawberry H i l l did not follow a geomet-  regular plan, l i k e that of Robert Walpole's estate, Houghton 26  H a l l , Norfolk.  Horace Walpole avoided the Palladian fashion and i t s  89  attendant aesthetic.  He kept the "modern refinements  ensured comfort for him and h i s frequent v i s i t o r s .  i n luxury" that  He kept the r e q u i s i t e  s o c i a l separations: the servants' work and l i v i n g areas at Strawberry H i l l were s t i l l "below s t a i r s . "  But he was equally interested i n other  matters, balance and consistency not among them.  The asymmetry of the  27 house, f o r example, Walpole chose d e l i b e r a t e l y .  , He inserted Essex s  Beauclerc Tower between the existing Round Tower and the long south wing, whereas a more conventional plan would have placed i t at an opposite corner, for balance.  Walpole varied the size of h i s rooms, making them 28  progressively larger; the early ones, he admitted, were quite small. He sought to enhance the house's i r r e g u l a r i t y of p r o f i l e , the picturesque beauty of i t s many v i s t a s , i t s own value i n completing v i s t a s from the surrounding park, i t s elements of surprise, and i t s display of the haphazardness which was then supposed to be t r u l y gothic.  The long course  of the construction and the variety of builders employed helped to lend Strawberry H i l l a s t y l i s t i c incoherence for  that was an adequate substitute  centuries of ruination and restoration, f o r the admirable i r r e g u l a r 29  i t i e s of the barbarous a r c h i t e c t s . Walpole provided a recognizably gothic p r o f i l e for Strawberry H i l l by c a s t e l l a t i n g i t s e x t e r i o r . Although he did not choose to adopt f u l l y the proportions of a c a s t l e for h i s modern plan, Walpole did think of h i s house as a sort of miniature castle and regularly referred to i t as 30  "Strawberry Castle" i n his l e t t e r s . his  e c c l e s i a s t i c a l interests, but the facsimile of a castle, achieved  with battlements, him.  In this respect, he deviated from  towers, and p l a i n external decoration, was enough f o r  I t would have made as much sense for Walpole to have c a l l e d h i s  90  creation "Strawberry Abbey," with i t s c l o i s t e r s , Prior's Garden, and (later) i t s separate Chapel. This elusiveness of Strawberry H i l l ' s character was suited to Walpole' s f l e x i b l e ideas about the estate and i t s purpose.  Strawberry  Hill  served two functions for him, one attached to the contemporary world and another to the past.  Walpole saw i n i t both a place where he might l i v e  in comfort and seclusion and a stage setting where he might r e a l i z e the play of his imagination.  A l l the concessions to modernity, the expedi-  encies upon which the gothicism depended, provided the f i r s t .  In order  to perform the second function, the house had to include a l l the props and backdrops necessary for the f u l l repertoire of Walpole's fantasies, which tended to be either baronial or monastic.  Thus, the mixture of  styles and sources at Strawberry H i l l , though i t made for impure gothic architecture, supplied the appropriate materials and.atmosphere for each v i s i o n , whether Walpole imagined himself as a hermit monk or as a noble 31 descendant  of S i r Terry Robsart.  The gothicism of many nineteenth-century partisans, especially those who came out of the antiquarian l i n e , was an earnest pursuit, o r i g i n a t i n g in doctrine, or i n s o c i a l theory, or i n a sense of s t y l i s t i c  integrity.  Walpole's gothicism, on the other hand, was always related simply to s a t i s f y i n g personal, imaginative needs—and those were rarely obsessive or  all-consuming.  Walpole f e l t himself the v i c t i m of ennui, of the d u l l -  ness and i n s i p i d i t y of his own age.  Seeking r e l i e f , he t r i e d to dramatize  himself and his environment, i n order to bring his v i v i d q u a s i - h i s t o r i c a l dreams to l i f e .  91  Walpole has l e f t evidence of the a t t r a c t i o n that fantasies about the past held for him. 1766,  Thus, he wrote to George Montagu, on 5 January  after some of the excitement immediately surrounding the publica-  tion of The Castle  of Otranto  had died down:  Visions, you know, have always been my pasture; and so far from growing old enough to quarrel with their emptiness, I almost think there i s no wisdom comparable to that of exchanging what i s called the r e a l i t i e s of l i f e for dreams. Old c a s t l e s , old pictures, old h i s t o r i e s , and the babble of old people make one l i v e back into centuries that cannot disappoint one. One holds fast and surely what i s past. The dead have exhausted their power of deceiving—one can trust Catherine of Medicis now.^ There were, however, two important l i m i t a t i o n s upon Walpole's i n d u l gence i n such a t t r a c t i v e , secure, regressive fantasies.  F i r s t , his  gothicism was more subversive than overt and reactionary: he preferred to r e v i t a l i z e and enrich modern taste, to reconcile i t to the exotic and unfamiliar, rather than to rebel against i t altogether. because he was  And  the  second,  subversive and because his retreat from the mundane was  only temporary, not doctrinaire, i t did not matter so much that his gothicism often consisted of sham and t h e a t r i c a l i t y — v e n e e r and wallpaper.  Even i f he had known how  fretwork  to b u i l d an authentic gothic struc-  ture, the stage s e t t i n g , the house-as-theatrical-machine, would have sufficed for his divided purposes. Walpole was  unwilling to exchange the " r e a l i t i e s of l i f e " f o r  dreams, except i n a temporary, controlled way.  His status and his  important connections were valuable enough to overcome his d i s i l l u s i o n ment and to prevent him from becoming e n t i r e l y r e c l u s i v e . discovered  Instead,  he  the means of combining the natural pleasures of both r e a l m s —  the f a m i l i a r and the f a n t a s t i c a l .  After a l l , one of the "modern r e f i n e -  92  ments i n luxury" which Walpole valued most was  the luxury of being able  to summon his v i s i o n s and to mix them with a comforting measure of familiar r e a l i t y , around him.  of being able to choose how much of the past he wanted  By thus disguising the strangeness  of his fantasies, he  disarmed some of the resistance to them. But not a l l .  Walpole was provoked, nevertheless, by a c e r t a i n sense  of not being appreciated for his talents as an innovator. du Deffand his own of h i s personal  assessment of Otranto,  Offering  Mme.  he treated i t as the masterwork  avante-garde:  I have not written the book for the present age, which w i l l endure nothing but cold common sense. I confess to you, my dear friend, (and you w i l l think me madder than ever,) that this i s the only one of my works with which I am myself pleased; I have given reins to my imagination t i l l I became on f i r e with the v i s i o n s and feelings which i t excited. I have composed i t i n defiance of r u l e s , of c r i t i c s , and of philosophers; and i t seems to me just so much the better for that very r e a s o n . ^ The bitterness and aggressiveness Mme.  evident here were his response to  du Deffand's lack of enthusiasm, for Otranto—and  Walpole's defiance of a l l short-sighted c r i t i c s was  something more. equally an expression  of h i s hope that he might be seen as a.leader i n some area; for his vicarious p o l i t i c a l career had already h i t a large snag even as h i s literary his  career began.  This fact helps to explain why he had undertaken  excursions into the "centuries that cannot disappoint one."  he had arranged Conway was  In  1765  to bring together the new Rockingham ministry, i n which  secretary bf state, but Conway did not secure for him  the  "considerable employment" which he declared his vanity "would have been  34 gratified  i n refusing."  Although p o l i t i c s  a l t e r n a t e l y bored and  attracted him, he f e l t that they were his proper concern, more a part of  93  his b i r t h r i g h t than was  literature.  To some extent, his a c t i v i t i e s as  builder, writer and antiquary compensated him for his i n a b i l i t y to reach and maintain the l e v e l of p o l i t i c a l importance that his father had enjoyed.  It was  a source of both chagrin and amusement to Walpole that  he- had to digress from p o l i t i c a l business i n order to assert himself, in order to avoid the betrayals to which he believed he was  and  so susceptible.  But Walpole's idea of his role as an innovator did not originate simply i n pique.  There were p a r t i c u l a r reasons why  his s o c i a l  standing  might give him the influence as a writer and taste-maker that he missed as a p o l i t i c i a n .  had  Foremost were the l i m i t s he placed upon his  d i s a f f e c t i o n , reclusiveness, and e c c e n t r i c i t y . He did move away from certain r e a l i t i e s , w i l l i n g l y ; he did seek to insulate h i m s e l f — p h y s i c a l l y at Strawberry H i l l , i n t e l l e c t u a l l y and emotionally i n general.  through his gothicism  On the other hand, he was well-suited to the task of accom-  modating his exotic visions to the views of the more pedestrian world, of r e c o n c i l i n g the unconventional with the conventional.  He never  appeared outlandish i n his gothicism, l i k e Batty Langley, whom he joined in ridiculing.  Although his own  designs were perhaps as outrageous and  fantastic as Langley's, he at least managed not to advocate them with such earnestness.  When throngs of v i s i t o r s eventually came to see Straw-  berry H i l l — s o many that Walpole had to control them with rules and admission t i c k e t s — t h e y came to marvel at the richness of his unique c o l l e c t i o n , at the miniature perfection of his Castle, not to patronize a mere c u r i o s i t y .  Walpole was  beyond patronage.  His s o c i a l p o s i t i o n  gave him an important advantage, and he used i t conservatively.  As Ken-  neth Clark has observed, Walpole "did not so much popularise as a r i s t o -  94  cratise  Gothic." In 1750 the taste for pinnacles was associated with parvenus and Chesterfield could dismiss i t as such. But when the exquisite, cultivated Walpole took up Gothic, society began to f e e l that there might be something i n i t .  Moreover, Walpole's motives for favouring the gothic were r e l a t i v e l y pure.  Since he was  neither a professional builder nor a professional  writer, he did not have to obey his t r a i n i n g , his patrons' voguish tastes, or the c r i t i c s ' s t r i c t u r e s .  Like Sanderson M i l l e r , whose work  36 at Hagley Park he admired,  Walpole undertook projects for his friends  and soon became a famous source of advice about gothic a r t i f a c t s , but this work was never a matter of necessity for him. M i l l e r may  Both Walpole and  have suffered from s u p e r f i c i a l i t y and a dearth of hard know-  ledge; yet, they remained enthusiasts, not cool performers of someone else's bidding l i k e Kent or Wyatt, who patrons demanded i t . gothic amateurs who  Walpole was  attempted the gothic because their  among the f i r s t generation  of r e a l  were neither builders, by profession or t r a d i t i o n ,  nor antiquarian p u r i s t s ; whose interest i n the gothic had 37 l i t e r a r y motives and d i r e c t i o n .  strongly  He made a worthy successor  for he seemed ready to f u l f i l Hurd's pessimistic suggestion  to Hurd,  that the  v i t a l images of the past should enter a c t i v e l y into modern poetry.  Wal-  pole shared with Hurd a d i r e c t , personal sense of the banality which had overcome l i t e r a t u r e and a b e l i e f that a new  balance could not be  achieved  through r a d i c a l means. Like Strawberry H i l l , The Castle  of Otranto  was  a manifestation  Horace Walpole's dream l i f e .  Walpole promoted this connection,  ing  i t s e l f a dream-fulfilment,  that the house, which was  of  by claim-  had also inspired  95 the dream that prompted him to write: Shall I even confess to you what was the o r i g i n of this romance? I waked one morning i n the beginning of l a s t June from a dream, of which a l l I could recover was, that I had thought myself i n an ancient castle (a very natural dream for a head f i l l e d l i k e mine with Gothic story) and that on the uppermost banister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand i n armour. 00  JO  The "Gothic story" that made his dream seem "very natural" was composed of the fantasies suggested by h i s c o l l e c t i o n and house—of these as much as any medieval works of literary  fantasy.  The correspondence  between Walpole's dream and his chosen environment was obvious.  On the  "great staircase" of Strawberry H i l l was a niche which contained a f u l l 39 suit of armour,  and there was a separate Armoury at the head of those  s t a i r s , furnished with two suits of armour, two helmets, a gauntlet, and many other items of that k i n d . ^ For Cole, Walpole described his reaction to the dream as i f i t had inspired him, so that the circumstances under which he subsequently wrote his novel appeared quite dramatic: In the evening I sat down and began to write, without knowing i n the least what I intended to say or r e l a t e . The work grew on my hands, and I grew fond of i t — a d d that I was very glad to think of anything rather than p o l i t i c s — I n short I was so engrossed with my t a l e , which I completed i n less than two months, that one evening I wrote from the time I had drunk my tea, about s i x o'clock, t i l l half an hour after one in the morning, when my hand and fingers were so weary, that I could not hold the pen to f i n i s h the sentence, but l e f t Matilda and Isabella talking, i n the middle of a paragraph. You w i l l laugh at my earnestness, but i f I have amused you by retracing with any f i d e l i t y the manners of ancient days, I am content, and give you leave to think me as i d l e as you please.. 41 n  Perhaps i t i s tempting to take Walpole's account of Otranto's o r i g i n at face value, but there i s good reason to suspect i t .  This  dream  96 story was convenient, for i t allowed Walpole to protect himself against c r i t i c i s m and to prepare h i s readers for the kind of f i c t i o n he had created.  It agreed rather too well with Walpole's comparison of h i s  work with "inspired writings," a comparison which—as I s h a l l show— Walpole used i n the second Preface to Otranto  i n order to defend h i s  treatment of the marvellous. The dream story suggested the author's lack of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and h i s work's freedom from conventional r e s t r a i n t s . According to this explanation, since Walpole had been driven by h i s dream, he was not e n t i r e l y i n control of the r e s u l t s .  Moreover, by  claiming that he had written h a s t i l y , Walpole could excuse the plainness or artlessness of d i c t i o n into which he thought he had f a l l e n .  Because  his romance followed the method of a dream, the marvellous events and monstrous figures might be expected to occur naturally, without elaborate justification.  At the same time, the dream story permitted Walpole to  maintain the diffidence appropriate to h i s dubious, mainly personal achievement.  His hope that " f i d e l i t y " i n "retracing . . . the manners  of ancient days" might excuse h i s self-indulgence came as a sort of afterthought—the keynote of the dream story i s amusement, i d l e fancy. And the net r e s u l t of the dream story, whatever i t s veracity, was to c l a r i f y the r e l a t i o n of The Castle  of Otranto  to everyday r e a l i t y , giving  the reader comforting assurance of Walpole's r e a l attitude toward h i s work. Walpole used another, more extensive story to introduce The  Castle  42  of Otranto  when i t was f i r s t published i n 1764.  This imposture too  shows Walpole's concern for i n d i c a t i n g , i n advance, how his f i c t i o n should be read, and h i s impulse towards self-defence.  For t h i s reason,  97  the story i s worth examining  i n some d e t a i l .  When i t appeared, The Castle  of Otranto  masqueraded as a t r a n s l a t i o n  "from the o r i g i n a l I t a l i a n of Onuphrio Muralto, Canon of the Church of St. Nicholas at Otranto," the English version supposedly having been made by one "William Marshal, Gent."  The Translator's Preface to the f i r s t  edition informed the reader that "the following work was found i n the l i b r a r y of an ancient Catholic family i n the north of England. printed at Naples,  i n the black l e t t e r , i n the year 1529.  I t was  . . . The  p r i n c i p a l incidents are such as were believed i n the darkest ages of C h r i s t i a n i t y ; but the language and conduct have nothing that savours of barbarism" (p. 5).  The reader was thus forewarned  that he should take  care to separate the tale's content, which was suspect, from the manner in which i t was t o l d , which was f a m i l i a r and acceptable.  Citing internal  evidence, p a r t i c u l a r l y the "beauty of the d i c t i o n , and the zeal of the author (moderated, however, by singular judgment)," the "translator" concluded that "the date of the composition was l i t t l e antecedent to that of the impression."  This approximate date persuaded him to adduce the  l i k e l y motivation for the author of the o r i g i n a l : Letters were then i n their most f l o u r i s h i n g state i n I t a l y , and contributed to dispel the empire of superstition, at that time so f o r c i b l y attacked by the reformers. I t i s not u n l i k e l y , that an a r t f u l p r i e s t might endeavour to turn their own arms on the innovators; and might a v a i l himself of his a b i l i t i e s as an author to confirm the populace i n their ancient errors and superstitions. I f this was his view, he has c e r t a i n l y acted with signal address. Such a work as the following would enslave a hundred vulgar minds, beyond half the books of controversy that have been written from the days of Luther to the present hour (pp. 5-6). This explanation, other suppositions about the tale's o r i g i n , and the translation device i t s e l f were convenient i n several ways.  98 "Marshal's" speculation about motives—which, i n a l into a piece of Counter-Reformation kind—he  i n e f f e c t , made the o r i g -  propaganda of the most insidious  offered as "a mere conjecture," though l a t e r i n the Preface he  seemed to take i t s truth for granted.  But for Walpole's genteel readers  the signals were quite clear: a work which "would enslave a hundred v u l gar minds" would not enslave t h e i r s , especially not a work which had been discovered " i n the l i b r a r y of an ancient Catholic family."  Having  introduced the reference to sectarian controversy, "Marshal" could have counted on his readers to summon up the proper measure of Protestant skepticism, to regard with dispassionate amusement the extreme measures, l i k e this propaganda, used by wild r e l i g i o u s partisans. An advantage i n keeping a l l this explanatory material i n the realm of conjecture was Otranto's  that i t remained possible that some other account of  creation would turn out to be correct.  Thus, Walpole made  provision for stepping into the author's r o l e should his work receive a kinder reception than he anticipated. ventional.  Such coyness was,  of course, con-  Devices similar to the translation device had already been  used for some time i n order to protect authors from r i d i c u l e — a n d from the charge of being mere authors ( i . e . , hacks). Aside from d i s s o c i a t i n g the author from h i s work, a translation or documentary device also could lend c r e d i b i l i t y to the f i c t i o n (or s a t i r e ) , by connecting i t with found manuscripts, r e a l memoirs, journals or l e t t e r s , by making i t resemble the adventures and scandals that were the favourite subject of popular journalism.  The relationship between f i c t i o n a l and  pseudo-factual elements added to the i r o n i c complexity of the work.  99 Walpole used the translation device to ensure the c r e d i b i l i t y of his n a r r a t i v e — o r , at l e a s t , to locate i t among r e a l types  ( i . e . , Roman  Catholic propaganda); however, he also used i t to ensure the tale's i n c r e d i b i l i t y , to show that he was not d i r e c t l y responsible for i t s more egregious q u a l i t i e s .  The translation device pointed to a fact that h i s  readers were quite ready to acknowledge: that the absurdities i n  Otranto—  though none the less absurd—were true to the conditions of popular b e l i e f at the time when the "manuscript" was composed (c. 1529), or at the time of the story's setting, which "Marshal" placed "between 1095, the aera of the f i r s t crusade, and 1243, the date of the l a s t , or not long a f t e r wards" (p. 5). Since the supposed translator was simply making available a document that was c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a certain h i s t o r i c a l period, without trying to conceal i t s despicable purpose, he could not be blamed for preserving i t s outlandish mannerisms and blatant l i e s .  If miracles and  supernatural events were not to be believed i n themselves, they were, nevertheless, credible features i n a piece of medieval Catholic fantasy: Miracles, v i s i o n s , necromancy, dreams and other preternatural events, are exploded now even from romances. That was not the case when our author wrote; much less when the story i t s e l f i s supposed to have happened. Belief i n every kind of prodigy was so established i n those dark ages, that an author would not be f a i t h f u l to the manners of the times, who should omit a l l mention of them. He i s not bound to believe them himself, but he must represent his actors as believing them (p. 6). This l a s t d i s t i n c t i o n i l l u s t r a t e s Walpole's basic attitude toward the h i s t o r i c a l materials which he employed i n h i s fantasies: one need not f u l l y re-enter the past i n order to exploit i t s s t y l i s t i c Sham was enough, for Otranto  resources.  as f o r Strawberry H i l l , and the successful  imposition was a pleasure i n i t s e l f .  100 Walpole's translation device managed to deceive some of h i s readers, but not a l l .  Thomas Gray wrote to him from Cambridge, where Otranto  had  caused only a minor sensation i n Gray's c i r c l e : I have received The Castle of Otranto, and return you my thanks for i t . It engages our attention here, makes some of us cry a l i t t l e , and a l l i n general a f r a i d to go to bed o' nights. We take i t for a t r a n s l a t i o n , and should believe i t to be a true story, i f i t were not for St. N i c h o l a s . ^ Since Gray had been a party to Walpole's secret, had read the manus c r i p t before Walpole decided to publish i t , he was  able to avoid being 44  fooled and to report on the work's reception with some detachment.  A  more t y p i c a l sort of reaction came from Mason: . . . I w i l l not omit thanking you for a more extraordinary thing i n i t s kind, which though i t comes not from your press, yet I have episcopal evidence i s written by your hand. And indeed less than such evidence would scarce have contented me. For when a friend of mine to whom I had recommended The Castle of Otranto returned i t to me with some doubts of i t s o r i g i n a l i t y , I laughed him to scorn, and wondered he could be so absurd as to think that anybody nowadays had imagination enough to invent such a story. He r e p l i e d that h i s suspicions arose merely from some parts of familiar dialogue i n i t , which he thought of too modern a cast. S t i l l sure of my point, I affirmed this objection, i f there was anything i n i t , was merely owing to i t s not being translated a century ago. A l l this I make i t a point of conscience to t e l l you, for though i t proves me your dupe, I should be glad to be so duped again every year of my l i f e . ^ , . Mason's pleasure at being duped r e f l e c t s three features of his reaction: his lack of c r i t i c a l acumen (his unnamed friend seems the more perceptive reader), his desire to ingratiate himself further with Walpole, and his acceptance of the whole f a l s e framework as something of more than passing interest.  Indeed, deception was  e s s e n t i a l to the a r t i s t r y , since  the enjoyment of i t depended upon simultaneously observing and ignoring that the f i c t i o n (or the new-gothic building) was  a sham.  The case of  101 Walpole's French v i s i t o r who mistook the Cabinet at Strawberry H i l l for a r e a l chapel demonstrates the actual working of the gothic s e n s i b i l i t y : whether one was  fooled or not, what was  important was  that the sham be  impressive enough to excite the r e q u i s i t e associative fervor, that the sham transport•the beholder, or the reader, temporarily away from h i s modern scruples, while leaving him the chance to exercise them i n the end.  In Otranto  the translation device was  the chief means of accom-  p l i s h i n g t h i s , and i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that, even after he had claimed  the  work as his own openly, i n the Preface to the Second E d i t i o n (1765), Walpole retained the Translator's Preface i n subsequent editions. was  It  an i n t e g r a l part of the romance. I have already suggested that, beyond showing the reader that  Otranto  had to be considered at several i r o n i c l e v e l s , the translation device indicated Walpole's reluctance to think of himself as a f i c t i o n - w r i t e r — or to be presented  as one i n public.  That i s why  he continued  to place  so much emphasis, whenever he discussed the making of Otranto,  upon his  spontaneous, uncalculated and rapid method of composition. notes that Walpole "was coarseness  W. S. Lewis  bored with the i n s i p i d i t y of Richardson  and  the  of F i e l d i n g and Smollett," but these were mainly objections  against their l i t e r a r y q u a l i t i e s , not their personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s or those of authors i n general.  According to the Walpoliana,  however, he  also had no tolerance for authors as s o c i a l creatures: I have always rather t r i e d to escape the acquaintance, and conversation, of authors. An author talking of h i s own works, or censuring those of others, i s to me a dose of hypecacuana. I l i k e only a few, who can i n company forget their authorship, and remember p l a i n sense...  102  Aside from such a direct expression of h i s d i s l i k e , Walpole showed his  uneasiness with the idea of authorship i n two other ways: through  his  copious apologies for Otranto,  f i l l e d with references to h i s care-  lessness and lack of technical s k i l l ; and through h i s half-hearted defence of the moralizing i n the romance.  In both cases, he was  primarily  interested i n showing that, while he had (reluctantly) become an author, he was s t i l l a gentleman; and, as a c o r o l l a r y , that h i s s o c i a l position should earn special allowances for h i s l i t e r a r y production. Walpole was anxious about the public reception of Otranto.  His  anxieties originated i n his b e l i e f that f i c t i o n - w r i t i n g was a risky occupation for a gentleman, but that only a gentleman could afford to take the r i s k s necessary to rejuvenate f i c t i o n . the subject appeared soon after Otranto  His more e x p l i c i t comments on  was published.  For example, he  replied to Mason's adulatory l e t t e r with a f a i r degree of apparent humility: . . . I published The Castle of Otranto with the utmost d i f fidence and doubt of i t s success. Yet though i t has been received much more favourably than I could f l a t t e r myself i t would be, I must say your approbation i s of another sort than general opinion . . . your praise i s so l i k e l y to make me vain, that I oblige myself to r e c o l l e c t a l l the circumstances that can abate i t , such as the fear I had of producing i t at a l l (for i t i s not everybody that may i n this country play the f o o l with impunity); the hurry i n which i t was composed; and i t s being begun without any plan at a l l . . . I think your friend judged r i g h t l y i n pronouncing part of the d i a logue too modern. I had the same idea of i t , and I could, but such a t r i f l e does not deserve i t , point out other defects, besides some to which most probably I am not [sic] i n s e n s i b l e . ^ The parenthetical reference to the d i f f i c u l t y of playing the f o o l "with impunity" neatly outlines Walpole's position.  Because he  was  neither a professional writer nor a professional builder, he did not  103 have to a l i g n his works s t r i c t l y with contemporary c r i t i c a l values. a gentleman he could claim a c e r t a i n licence to w r i t e — o r exclusively for his own  amusement, following his own  ance of rules, of c r i t i c s , and of philosophers."  As  to b u i l d —  fashion, " i n d e f i -  Once he had sent his  creations into the public realm, however, the s i t u a t i o n changed somewhat. The l i t e r a r y amateur's p r i v i l e g e , i f abused or flaunted, might have undermined the reputation on which i t was  founded.  Moreover, Walpole must  have believed that the kind of f i c t i o n that he had written (or invented) required the author "to play the f o o l " — t h a t his gothic tastes, i n that sense, were p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous.  This b e l i e f did not stop him from  f l o u t i n g convention (his d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with conventional  f i c t i o n ensured  that he would take the r i s k involved), but i t did make him cautious enough to appease conventional edition of Otranto  expectations  occasionally.  After the second  came out, with Walpole the acknowledged author, the  Translator's Preface s t i l l may  have offered the reader a context  i n which  to read the romance, but i t no longer protected Walpole from the dangers of innovation (and Mason's l e t t e r makes one wonder how well i t ever had). Consequently, Walpole took care to define the l i m i t s of his work and explain exactly what he thought he had  to  accomplished.  The defence and explanation had begun, i n f a c t , i n that part of the Translator's Preface where "Marshal" was " o r i g i n a l manuscript."  supposed to be c r i t i c i z i n g  He observed that, i f the "air of the  the  miraculous"  were accepted, no other unnatural or outlandish element would be found. Allow the p o s s i b i l i t y of the f a c t s , and a l l the actors comport themselves as persons would do i n their s i t u a t i o n . There i s no bombast, no similes, flowers, digressions, or unnecessary descriptions. Every thing tends d i r e c t l y to the catastrophe. Never i s the reader's attention relaxed.  104  The rules of the drama are almost observed throughout the conduct of the piece. The characters are well drawn, and s t i l l better maintained. Terror, the author's p r i n c i p a l engine, prevents the story from ever languishing; and i t i s so often contrasted by p i t y , that the mind i s kept up in a constant v i c i s s i t u d e of i n t e r e s t i n g passions (pp. 6 - 7 ) . Here were the f a m i l i a r r e s t r a i n t s upon Walpole's imagination. had to respect the demands of p r o b a b i l i t y — i f possibility  He  were admitted—  48  especially i n matters of characterization. heavily embellished  language.  He had to avoid elevated or  He had to sustain a high l e v e l of tension  and arousal: by concentrating the action, by alternating the reader's immersion i n terror and p i t y , by constantly confronting the reader with the emotional c r i s e s of his characters.  This argument had the e f f e c t of  making the romance seem more normal than i t r e a l l y was, by subjecting i t to many of the basic rules of f i c t i o n and drama. After defending the depiction of the servants i n Otranto, the Translator's Preface turned to another area where Walpole may have a n t i cipated controversy: convey.  the moral lesson which the romance pretended to  "Marshal" regretted that his "author" had not founded his story: . . . on a more useful moral than t h i s : that the sins of fathers are visited on their children to the third and fourth generation. I doubt whether, i n his time, any more than at present, ambition curbed i t s appetite of dominion from the dread of so remote a punishment. And yet this moral i s weakened by that less d i r e c t insinuation, that even such anathema may be diverted, by devotion to St. Nicholas. Here, the interest of the Monk p l a i n l y gets the better of the judgment of the Author.  The " t r a n s l a t o r " hoped, nevertheless, modern c r i t i c s ' preference  that the romance would s a t i s f y the  that f i c t i o n have a d i d a c t i c purpose i n addi49  tion to i t s entertainment value:  "The piety that reigns throughout,  the lessons of v i r t u e that are inculcated, and the r i g i d purity of the  105 sentiments, exempt this work from the censure to which romances are but too l i a b l e " (pp. 7-8). Having correctly i d e n t i f i e d the moral muddiness of the t a l e , "Marshal" threw a sop to the more rabid moralists with h i s lame a f f i r mations about i t s "piety," "lessons of v i r t u e , " and " r i g i d purity of sentiments."  Since he had already i n v i t e d his readers to cast the f u l l  l i g h t of their modern Protestant discernment upon the devious mind that had fabricated the romance ( i . e . , the hypothetical propagandist's), he was unlikely to impress them with the solemnity or profundity of the fiction.  At any rate, those were not the q u a l i t i e s which attracted most  readers to The Castle  of Otranto.  There remained one good reason for the  moral issue to a r i s e here, and that was Walpole's desire to seem duly concerned with conventional notions of decency and serious didactic intentions, while, i n f a c t , having no r e a l concern for them at a l l . "Monk" Lewis, among the other gothic n o v e l i s t s , matched Walpole's  Only  ability  to treat the common proprieties so casually, and that was largely a measure of h i s confidence i n the power of s o c i a l standing to win exemption from moral scruples.  (In addition, Lewis was much more independently  wealthy than Walpole.) In the second edition of Otranto,  Walpole continued to j u s t i f y and  c r i t i c i z e h i s work, bu£ f i r s t he apologized to h i s readers for "having offered h i s work to them under the borrowed personage of a translator," again a t t r i b u t i n g the need for concealment  to h i s modest expectations:  As diffidence of his own a b i l i t i e s , and the novelty of the attempt, were the sole inducements to assume that disguise, he f l a t t e r s himself he s h a l l appear excusable. He resigned his performance to the impartial judgment of the public; determined to l e t i t perish i n obscurity, i f disapproved;  106  nor meaning to avow such a t r i f l e , unless better judges should pronounce that he might own i t without a blush (p. 13). The project of s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n and explanation became more urgent now that Walpole's anonymity was gone.  A further incentive was the romance's  dubious success: despite the fact that the f i r s t edition of f i v e hundred copies had sold out within three months, there was no overnight fame, and Walpole probably exaggerated Otranto's  favourable r e c e p t i o n — o u t s i d e his  own c i r c l e . C o n s e q u e n t l y , he wrote more d i r e c t l y about the guiding p r i n c i p l e s of the romance i n the second preface, seeking to "explain the grounds on which he composed" it."'"'"  These p r i n c i p l e s included both per-  sonal motives and ideas about the relationship between t r a d i t i o n a l romances and novels. for  He described the inception of Otranto  as an occasion  experiment and compromise: It was an attempt to blend the two kinds of Romance, the ancient and the modern. In the former, a l l was imagination and improbability: i n the l a t t e r , nature i s always intended to be, and sometimes has been, copied with success. Invention has not been wanting; but the great resources of fancy have been dammed up, by a s t r i c t adherence to common l i f e . But i f , i n the l a t t e r species, Nature has cramped imagination, she did but take her revenge, having been t o t a l l y excluded from the old romances. The actions, sentiments, and conversations, of the heroes and heroines of ancient days, were as unnatural as the machines employed to put them i n motion. The author . . . thought i t possible to reconcile the two kinds. Desirous of leaving the powers of fancy at l i b e r t y to expatiate through the boundless realms of invention, and thence of creating more interesting situations, he wished to conduct the mortal agents i n h i s drama according to the rules of probability; i n short, to make them think, speak, and act, as i t might be supposed mere men and women would do i n extraordinary positions. He had observed, that, i n a l l inspired writings, the personages under the dispensation of miracles, and witnesses to the most stupendous phenomena, never lose sight of their human character: whereas, i n the productions of romantic story, an improbable event never f a i l s to be attended by an absurd dialogue. The actors seem to lose their sense, the moment the laws of Nature have l o s t their tone (pp. 13-14).  107  Walpole carried over some of the important points from the Transl a t o r ' s Preface: the promise to.depict probable  behaviour, the supposed  avoidance of overblown rhetoric, the reference to f i c t i o n as i f i t were drama ( i n the e a r l i e r Preface, Walpole had submitted his work to "the rules of the drama").  But Walpole added to these a comparison  of the  "two kinds of Romance," which was i m p l i c i t i n the f i r s t Preface but undeveloped.  The idea of such a comparison had not originated with Walpole.  The immediate p r e c e d e n t — i f not influence—came from Hurd, who had shown the trade-off between fancy and reason almost three years e a r l i e r , i n the Letters  on Chivalry  and Romance.  of f i c t i o n , however, and remained  Hurd was not writing as a p r a c t i t i o n e r skeptical that modern inventions could  match the o r i g i n a l s . It i s p l a i n that Walpole did not share this skepticism.  One reason  why he did not may have been the fact that he did not disagree strongly with the common l i n e of attack against the medieval romances and their modern descendants;  therefore, he could anticipate what form a modern  version of the romance would have to assume i n order to be accepted. His  own hybrid romance depended upon, and reinforced, the prejudice  against romances that was widespread among c r i t i c s of f i c t i o n . ple  An exam-  of such prejudice i n action occurs i n Tobias Smollett's Preface to  The Adventures  of Roderick  Random (1748) where he offers a short pseudo-  h i s t o r i c a l condemnation of the romance, i n order to connect h i s own picaresque use of the romantic types and subjects with that of Cervantes: . . . when the minds of men were debauched, by the imposition of p r i e s t c r a f t , to the most absurd pitch of c r e d u l i t y , the authors of romance arose, and, losing sight of probab i l i t y , f i l l e d their performances with the most monstrous hyperboles. If they could not equal the ancient poets i n  108 point of genius, they were resolved to excel them i n f i c t i o n , and apply to the wonder rather than the judgement of their readers. . . . Although nothing could be more ludicrous and unnatural than the figures they drew, they did not want patrons and admirers, and the world actually began to be infected with the s p i r i t of knight-errantry, when Cervantes, by an inimitable piece of r i d i c u l e , reformed the taste of mankind . . . converting romance to purposes far more useful and entertaining, by making i t assume the sock, and point out the f o l l i e s of ordinary l i f e . ^ Smollett's polemical history touches upon three major complaints against the romance:  (1) i t did not follow, imitate, or concern i t s e l f  with Nature (ideal or mundane), but instead took up u n r e a l i t i e s and i l l u s o r y images; (2) i t was  the product of a barbarous era, when a l y i n g ,  power-hungry priesthood propagated marvels and superstitions; (3) as a result of both these defects, i t had no educative value.  On the  contrary,  the romance might lead modern children, e s p e c i a l l y those of the newlyl i t e r a t e lower-middle c l a s s , to believe that their l i v e s were too stable, 53 sane, and  dull.  Walpole exploited exactly such assumptions i n order to reconcile his readers to the idea that the romances had their own  licit  pleasures,  which they might enjoy without losing e n t i r e l y their contempt for the era and the mentality that had produced them.  It was  the readers'  ing of these assumptions that allowed them to understand how should be read, and to trust that i t s outlook was, n o v e l i s t i c , not romantic.  shar-  Otranto  a f t e r a l l , reassuringly  The t r a n s l a t i o n device, for example, only  worked properly i f the second complaint (given above) was  generally  advanced; the association of extravagances and marvels with a p a r t i c u l a r h i s t o r i c a l period made the device's pretense p l a u s i b l e .  And,  of course,  the thought that the romances were somehow a dangerous or a barbarous  109  entertainment did not reduce their attractiveness—when danger and barb a r i t y began to seem an antidote against the banality of c i v i l i z a t i o n . On the other hand, the frequent note of narrative sarcasm and condescension implied a voice outside the credulous time of the story and i t s o r i g i n a l t e l l i n g , a voice which expressed the modern attitude toward such fables: amused indulgence. By assimilating, instead of r e s i s t i n g , the n o v e l i s t s ' c r i t i c i s m of romance, Walpole ensured that The Castle  of Otranto  could be appreciated  on at least two l e v e l s : as an exciting alternative to the d u l l common run of f i c t i o n ; and as a b r i e f excursion into the quaint romantic tory, with modern c r i t i c a l equipment brought along. not so much discrete as complementary. poraries, especially for those who  terri-  These levels were  Certainly for Walpole's contem-  became gothic enthusiasts, the former  was more important, since i t represented h i s r e a l innovation and d i s t i n guished him from other f i c t i o n - w r i t e r s . Otranto  But here again the case of  resembled that of Strawberry H i l l .  In both creations, the fact  that Walpole made allowance for more familiar tastes or attitudes gave him the freedom to introduce the unfamiliar without appearing to deviate from the conventional mode. his  Thus, he could not have "given r e i n s " to  imagination, unless he was confident that the reins could be  again, that the imagination could be subdued as well as freed.  grasped Excessive  common sense j u s t i f i e d , for Walpole, the f l i g h t into the realm of v i s i o n s , but the excesses of fantasy, i n turn, invited reasonable controls. As a gentleman and an amateur, Walpole of course had more l i b e r t y than most builders or writers to choose a balance between the conventional and the unconventional.  At Strawberry H i l l , as I have shown already, the  110  reasonable controls were various: convenience and luxury, a v a i l a b i l i t y of materials, technical s k i l l , e c l e c t i c tastes, and concern for s o c i a l p o s i t i o n — a l l restrained Walpole's a r c h i t e c t u r a l gothicism and, i n so doing, made sure that i t could not be dismissed  simply as an a f f e c t a t i o n .  The r e s u l t i n g gothic hybrid had the advantage of influencing the wider audience who were not l i a b l e to sympathize with either antiquarian or d o c t r i n a l gothicism, but who were able to react to Strawberry H i l l i n terms of the picturesque,  or of associative e f f e c t s , or of the exotic  collection. S i m i l a r l y , i n Otranto  the two l e v e l s of appreciation enhanced the  romance's a c c e p t a b i l i t y by providing complementary experiences of i t s f i c t i o n a l subject: one that relieved the dullness and i n s i p i d i t y of "common l i f e " with an interlude i n "the boundless realms of invention," another that r a t i o n a l i z e d the strange characters, scenes and themes by r e f e r r i n g to accepted tastes and attitudes.  Again, the advantage of this  compromise was that i t made Walpole appear to be exercising a sort of self-censorship, whereas i n fact he was reintroducing to f i c t i o n an interest i n i r r a t i o n a l i t y , violence, sexual deviance, and emotional excess that would not have been as palatable i f he had not offered his readers a way of explaining i t .  After a l l , these were the themes that  might be expected to interest a Roman Catholic propagandist, or that might have arisen naturally i n barbarous times. Walpole wanted to use the romance—or a hybrid form of i t — t o vert the f i c t i o n of his day.  con-  In order to understand how he hoped to do  t h i s , i t i s necessary to have a clearer idea of his attitudes toward the romance and the novel.  Unlike the reformer Cervantes who figures i n  Ill  Smollett's history of the romance, Walpole was not mainly worried about the dangerous, deluding effects of romance—though he was them.  s e n s i t i v e to  Instead, he was disappointed by the l i m i t a t i o n s which he f e l t had  been set upon the scope of f i c t i o n .  Since Cervantes had held the romantic  ideal up to r i d i c u l e , the evolution of f i c t i o n had come f u l l c i r c l e , so that the p a l l o r of the modern novel was of the ancient romance.  as undesirable as the luridness  In objecting to "a s t r i c t adherence to common  l i f e , " i n the Preface to the second e d i t i o n of Otranto,  Walpole was  r e f e r r i n g to two d i f f e r e n t things: l i f e confined within the common d e f i n i t i o n of what i s natural;  and low l i f e , populated by vulgar characters  and depicted i n a vulgar manner.  The f i r s t  sense required that f i c t i o n  be d u l l , the second that i t be ungainly and disgusting.  Walpole's claim  that "the great resources of fancy have been dammed up," h i s desire to observe the probable behaviour of "mere men  and women . . .  i n extra-  ordinary positions," were measures of his d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the f a i t h f u l recording of l i f e at itssmost circumstantial l e v e l . His sense of the shortcomings of conventional f i c t i o n affected the character of his own work i n ways that he did not note i n his Prefaces. Much of the strangeness  of his technique i n Otranto  can be explained  through the values which he did not hold, the conventions which he did not choose to observe. The new psychological realism did not appeal to him. Richardson's works b o r i n g , a n d condition of h i s own ing  He thought  he did not l i n g e r over the psychological  characters except when i t overflowed  i n some s t r i k -  external act, some exaggerated gesture of passion or g r i e f .  He  interested i n the spectacle i n which his characters figured, not the  was  112 i n t r i c a c i e s of personality.  In the Walpoliana  he i s reported to have  complained of the contemporary French tragedy that " i t i s not not  p i t y and terror moved by incident and action—but  dramatic,  an interest created  55  by perplexity, mental c o n f l i c t , and s i t u a t i o n . "  The tools he  employed  in psychological analysis were rather blunt; for example, he l a i d the background for Manfred's competing feelings of rage and compassion with reference to abstract forces: Manfred was not one of those savage tyrants, who wanton i n cruelty unprovoked. The circumstances of his fortune had given an asperity to his temper, which was naturally humane; and his virtues were always ready to operate, when his passions did not obscure his reason (p. 42). Although such general terms were a common means of abbreviating more complex motives, Walpole, unlike many of his contemporaries, seemed content not to penetrate much further into the origins of malice and revenge— indeed, he established the precedent for l a t e r g o t h i c i s t s , that such dark forces should be made more and more mysterious.  This r e l a t i v e s u p e r f i -  c i a l i t y , this reluctance to mull over causation and the minute sparks of f e e l i n g was convenient for Walpole, because i t permitted him to make his figures from a very malleable substance, to put them through rapid  changes  from one mask to another, without elaborate preparations to make this seem plausible to the reader. The characterization of Manfred again furnishes the best example of the  advantages of such f l e x i b i l i t y .  While his wife, Hippolita, glosses  over the fact that the giant apparition i s r e a l , Manfred i s depicted as going through various mental states: Manfred, though persuaded, l i k e his wife, that the v i s i o n had been no work of fancy, recovered a l i t t l e from the tempest of mind into which so many strange events had thrown  113  him. Ashamed too, of his inhuman treatment of a Princess, who returned every injury with new marks of tenderness and duty; he f e l t returning love forcing i t s e l f into his e y e s — but not less ashamed of f e e l i n g remorse towards one, against whom he was inwardly meditating a yet more b i t t e r outrage, he curbed the yearnings of his heart, and did not dare to lean even towards p i t y . The next t r a n s i t i o n of his soul was to exquisite v i l l a i n y (pp. 48-49). While the reader has the suggestion  of a tempestuous mind, the minute  features of Manfred's sufferings and anxieties remain unstudied.  The  shallowness of the psychological penetration guarantees that dialogue, l i k e the characters' other actions, w i l l stay at the l e v e l of gesture and e x h i b i t i o n , y i e l d i n g few revelations about personality, emotion, or motivation.  The u n p r e d i c t a b i l i t y of the characters, however, lends them  the i l l u s i o n of texture; Walpole thus avoided plained of finding i n Fanny Burney's Cecilia letting  the error which he com-  — that of "continually  out" a character's " r u l i n g passion.""^  The fact that i t seems  normal, within the romance, for the characters to s p l i t off abruptly on some new  course also excuses their apparently motiveless changes of  heart, such as Manfred's eventual acquiescence i n entering the neighbouring monastery, which otherwise would seem a r b i t r a r y and mechanical. However, since the motivational basis for Manfred's e a r l i e r malignity i s so t h i n l y defined, the basis for his repentance does not have to be any more s u b s t a n t i a l — n o t , at l e a s t , i n order to be consistent. While Walpole wrote as i f psychological subtlety were an encumbrance, he was  equally impatient with the accumulation of circumstantial d e t a i l s  required by r e a l i s t i c narration.  In this respect, his f i c t i o n , l i k e the  t r a d i t i o n a l ballads which began to reappear at this time, has i t s own austere economy of representation.  He does not immerse the reader i n  114  the associative richness, or the mysteriousness, or the exoticism the setting for its own sake.  of  Instead, the setting i s instrumental  in  serving his more fundamental i n t e r e s t s , and he uses i t schematically, symbolically, and suggestively.  These are a l l uses which tend to d i s -  pense with minute description and s u p e r f i c i a l , h i s t o r i c a l accuracy. The encounters, discoveries, threats, captures, and escapes that make up the whole p l o t of The Castle which the main characters  of Otranto  occur i n a maze through  hurtle, drawing along the reader at the same  precipitous speed, refusing him  the chance to situate them within their  environment, or even to r e a l i z e that environment. Castle assumes a schematic,  For t h i s reason, the  rather than a circumstantial, r e a l i t y : i t  consists of the various routes the characters pursuits, and f a t a l encounters.  follow i n their f l i g h t s ,  We become aware of i t s layout, of the  subterranean passages that l i n k i t with the nearby places of refuge, of i t s g a l l e r i e s , chambers and corridors above ground, but this awareness provides l i t t l e more than an outline, i n which objects become i n c i d e n t a l to the rapid action. And  as that action hurries toward i t s peak of violence and  tion, the symbolic  use of the setting becomes more evident  recogni-  as well.  The  symbolism depends mainly on the intrusive element i n the scene: the giant, whose armour and burgeoning limbs throw Manfred's household into chaos, by appearing with disturbingly appropriate  frequency and e f f e c t .  From the very opening incident, when the great plumed casque crushes out the l i f e of Manfred's son and h e i r , Conrad ("a homely youth, s i c k l y , and of no promising d i s p o s i t i o n " ) , on his wedding day,  the giant  apparition  enters into a contest with Manfred for occupancy of the Castle and  for  115  the power which i t represents.  The helmet deprives Manfred not only of  his son but also of free use of the Castle.  The enormous weight of the  "enchanted casque" breaks through the courtyard f l o o r into the vault below, enabling the "sorcerer" Theodore to escape c a p t i v i t y and to aid Isabella i n her f l i g h t (pp. 37-40).  When Manfred f i n a l l y discovers  him,  Theodore points to the helmet as his "accomplice," i n order to show the ridiculousness of the tyrant's accusations.  But the connection  between  Theodore and the giant i s more accurate than either he or Manfred supposes; for the armed figure i s the most v i s i b l e symbol of Theodore's legitimate claim to power, and of his true, noble lineage.  As the figure  grows beyond the capacity of the Castle, so Theodore's rights become obvious, beyond Manfred's capacity to deny them.  The fact that the giant,  once reassembled, turns out to be the venerable Alfonso's  s p i r i t u a l form  c l a r i f i e s the symbolic pattern, which i s further extended when Manfred, seeing Theodore dressed (pp. 106-7).  i n armour, mistakes him for Alfonso's ghost  As the giant enlarges, i t helps to f u l f i l Manfred's family  curse, which eventually destroys his children and revokes his power. i s appropriate  It  that Alfonso should return i n " d i l a t e d " scale, a change  which indicates the vigor of his l i n e ( i n contrast to Manfred's), the enormity of the crimes against him,  the heavy burden of conscience upon  Manfred, and the potency of the supernatural t i c e i n the mortal realm.  forces that guarantee jus-  Manfred's loss of control over the Castle, as  well as the Castle's i n a b i l i t y to contain the giant, proves the f r a g i l i t y of his system of self-deception; the Castle i s as puny as Manfred's attempts to deny his inherited g u i l t or to avert his family's doom. f u l l extent of the symbolic pattern appears with the apotheosis of  The  116 Alfonso: . . . a clap of thunder . . . shook the castle to i t s foundations; the earth rocked, and the clank of more than mortal armour was heard behind. Frederic and Jerome thought the l a s t day was at hand. The l a t t e r , forcing Theodore along with them, rushed into the court. The moment Theodore appeared, the walls of the castle behind Manfred were thrown down with a mighty force, and the form of Alfonso, dilated to an immense magnitude, appeared i n the center of the ruins. Behold i n Theodore the true heir of Alfonso! said the v i s i o n : and having pronounced these words, accompanied by a clap of thunder, i t ascended solemnly towards Heaven, where, the clouds parting asunder, the form of St. Nicholas was seen, and, receiving Alfonso's shade, they were soon wrapt from mortal eyes i n a blaze of glory (pp. 144-45). Having witnessed this baroque spectacle, Hippolita provides the proper, sententious interpretation of i t s symbols: "My Lord, said she, to the desponding Manfred, i s gone! Otranto" marized.  Matilda  behold the vanity of human greatness!  i s no more!  (p. 145).  i n Theodore  Conrad  we view the true Prince of  Here the symbolic value of the Castle i s duly sum-  Although the modern reader might not have brought the same  degree of moral seriousness to h i s interpretation, he s t i l l might have seen the significance of the Castle, not i n terms of the "vanity of human greatness," but of the vanity of self-delusion.  In any case, i t i s  important to note that the Castle's symbolic function does not require that i t be c a r e f u l l y described. And exact description would have destroyed the suggestiveness of the setting, the vague sense that the Castle i s an animate object as well as a symbolic one.  In addition, the obscurity of the setting, which i s a  r e s u l t of i t s hazy depiction, suggests the mystery which surrounds i t s inhabitants, a mystery which i s f u l l y explained only when Manfred and Jerome t e l l the true story of Alfonso and h i s descendants—and only after the Castle i s ruined (pp. 146-48).  117 Since the schematic, symbolic, and suggestive uses of the setting do not need a supporting f a b r i c of d e t a i l , Walpole's desire to indulge personal, gothic fantasies determines the choice i t s treatment.  of a setting more than  There i s scarcely any sign i n The Castle  of Otranto  of  the plenitude of a r t i f a c t s , decoration, f a m i l i a r associations, of the delight i n an h i s t o r i c a l period v i v i d l y imagined, that Walpole maintained so d i l i g e n t l y at Strawberry H i l l .  He did not c o l l e c t observations  costume, language, customs, or attitudes i n The Castle  of Otranto  about as he  collected paintings, books, china, armour, and other items of virtu Strawberry H i l l .  at  In architecture, Walpole's gothicism naturally took the  form of a fascination with objects  and their  associations,  but i n f i c t i o n  he was not s i m i l a r l y bound to use the evocative power of h i s t o r i c a l things. At Strawberry H i l l the gothic veneer—the c o l l e c t i o n of recherche the f a c i l e imitation of a n t i q u i t y — w a s The Castle  of Otranto,  objects,  the whole gothic experience; i n  whatever attention was  given to h i s t o r i c a l authen-  t i c i t y and description served a purpose beyond the mere evocation of ancient times.  Walpole's claim that he was  "retracing with . . . f i d e l i t y  the manners of ancient days" must be studied with reference to his u l t i mate, actual subject—and  that was not the "quality of l i f e " or the  "customs" of medieval men  and women.  In Otranto accuracy.  exotic atmosphere i s more important than h i s t o r i c a l  Although the plot might have been based, to some extent,  on  r e a l events and persons,"' Walpole's e f f o r t s at lending an archaic flavour 7  to the f i c t i o n were l i m i t e d .  He did try to a f f e c t a f a l s e medieval d i c -  t i o n and vocabulary (using the older pronoun forms), and to introduce  the  terms of chivalry and feudalism, but there i s such a thorough mixture of  118 elements and idioms that the result has no p a r t i c u l a r h i s t o r i c a l character, and cannot be i d e n t i f i e d with any period. i s that i t i s antique and quaintly formal.  Its main d i s t i n c t i o n  Considering language only,  we have the following specimen, spoken by Matilda to Theodore: Stranger . . . i f thy misfortunes have not been occasioned by thy own f a u l t , and are within the compass of the Princess Hippolita's power to redress, I w i l l take upon me to answer that she w i l l be thy protectress. When thou art dismissed from this c a s t l e , repair to holy father Jerome, at the convent adjoining to the church of St. Nicholas, and make thy story known to him, as far as thou thinkest meet; he w i l l not f a i l to inform the Princess, who i s the mother of a l l that want her assistance (p. 56). The importance of exoticism i n the gothic novels w i l l be discussed in d e t a i l i n the next section of this study; here i t i s enough to observe two major factors. Otranto,  An exotic atmosphere was of prime importance i n  i n part because i t gave the reader the s u p e r f i c i a l t h r i l l of  escape, but mainly because i t granted a certain measure of thematic licence. of  When examining the translation device and Walpole's acceptance  the common c r i t i q u e of romances, I suggested  the advantages of Wal-  pole's ostensible self-censorship and of h i s allowance of two l e v e l s of interpretation for Otranto  (pp.  !>8--;.v0-  supra).  The reading which can  accommodate a l l themes comfortably, by dismissing those which seem predictably  barbarous,  and therefore outlandish, complements the reading  which seizes upon the same themes precisely because and dangerous.  they are barbarous  The net effect i s that the f i c t i o n appears simultaneously 58  safe, moderate, or conventional, and subversive, excessive, or strange. In both cases, exoticism, not h i s t o r i c a l scholarship, provoked the appropriate responses.  For those readers who entertained a proper respect for  their own time and a proper contempt for a l l others, the mere whiff of  119 the a l i e n or the antique was those readers who  s u f f i c i e n t to signal "barbarity."  saw i n the exotic (whether h i s t o r i c a l or  a respite from contemporary dullness, the goal was  For  geographical)  sensational novelty,  not meticulous lessons i n c u l t u r a l h i s t o r y . In the c r i t i c a l passage with which this section began, S i r Walter Scott would appear to overrate the h i s t o r i c a l f i d e l i t y of The Castle Otranto,  of  since, as I have argued above, i t was hardly Walpole's object  "to draw such a picture of domestic l i f e and manners, during the feudal times, as might a c t u a l l y have existed." had projected upon Otranto  It would almost seem as i f Scott  his own bias, for he himself preferred to  display h i s t o r i c a l authenticity prominently i n his f i c t i o n .  In  Ivanhoe  (1819), for example, he took care to point out the differences i n l a n guage and dress between the Anglo-Saxons and their Norman overlords, following the d i s t i n c t i o n through their oaths and vocabulary,  their 59  customs, p o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s , national c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and  religion.  Scott c e r t a i n l y could not have found any similar depiction of the actual texture of the past i n The Castle  of Otranto,  and his admiration  for the  romance appears misguided, u n t i l one notices that the eventual emphasis i n Scott's c r i t i q u e of Otranto  f a l l s upon i t s excellence " i n bringing  forth the sensation of supernatural awe,  connected with h a l l s that have  echoed to the sounds of remote generations," an excellence which he believed unattainable i n new-gothic buildings. f i e d the true strength—and  Scott c o r r e c t l y i d e n t i -  the true s u b j e c t — o f The Castle  of  Otranto,  which gives i t i t s own kind of authenticity: the evocation of an unfamili a r , but impressive, state of emotional arousal and i r r a t i o n a l b e l i e f .  120 The s t r i v i n g for strong emotional e f f e c t s , and for dramatic themes which might occasion such e f f e c t s , determined many of the peculiar chara c t e r i s t i c s of The Castle  of Otranto:  i t s unusual l i t e r a r y models, for  instance. Given his interest i n exploiting the display of strong emotions, i t was natural that Walpole should turn for i n s p i r a t i o n , guidance, and just i f i c a t i o n to a genre where excess of emotion and sentiment was conventional feature. appropriate type. rounded Otranto exemplar.  a normal,  C l a s s i c a l and Renaissance tragedy seemed the  Thus, i n the c r i t i c a l apparatus with which he sur-  Walpole l i k e d to c i t e Shakespeare as h i s precedent and  He went so far as to revive the jaded dispute between French  c r i t i c s , who  valued the Rules, and English poets, who  valued their genius  and l i b e r t y , i n order to defend Shakespeare's work and connect  it—in  60 some obscure way—with h i s own. a way  But this was  only a pretended a f f i n i t y ,  of placating respectable c r i t i c a l opinion and Walpole's own  of l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n .  sense  In p r a c t i c e , h i s r e a l models came from another  source: the spectacular theatre of Webster and Ford, the theatre of revenge and dark v i l l a i n y — t h e melodrama, not the tragedy. This sort of theatre had already put out roots i n more recent times, reappearing i n 61 Otway's Venice Preserved  (1682), for example.  The elements of spectacle—hyperbole,  sentiments stretched to the  extreme, i r r e s i s t i b l e cruel impulses—affected the dialogue i n and the whole method of dramatic presentation, structure, and ization.  Otranto, character-  The characters, p a r t i c u l a r l y the noble or "high" characters,  tend to speak and act as i f they were constantly aware of an unseen audience, for whom they were playing the climax of a dramatic performance  121  which consists of nothing but climaxes.  Contrary  to the purpose that  Walpole stated i n the second Preface, they do not "think, speak, and act, as i t might be supposed mere men  and women would do i n extraordinary  positions." There are several reasons for this apparent discrepancy, Walpole's desire for s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n . the matter of his innovative t e r r i t o r y .  F i r s t , and most important, i s Despite Walpole's c a r e f u l  exposition, i n the second Preface, of his new analysis which was  aside from  fictional  synthesis—an  so i n f l u e n t i a l that Scott almost duplicated i t sixty  years l a t e r — t h e evidence of the romance i t s e l f shows what Scott also noticed: a stronger interest i n "extraordinary positions" than i n probability.  The veneer of conventional  elements—the f a m i l i a r patterns of  locution, the decorum and sentimentality of the sympathetic  characters—  made this interest somehow "safer," by q u a l i f y i n g i t , but did not reduce the e s s e n t i a l , a t t r a c t i v e novelty of the "extraordinary s i t u a t i o n s . " Second, there i s the matter of Otranto's context.  r e l a t i v e value and i t s  The deliberately c u l t i v a t e d strangeness of the gothic  explains the characters' a r t i f i c i a l i t y . they were cast were unusual, i t was  context  Since the situations into which  not to be expected that their prob-  able behaviour would be the same as the probable behaviour of the "mere men  and women" i n ordinary, bourgeois, r e a l i s t i c f i c t i o n .  On the other  hand, the implied d i s t i n c t i o n s between the old romances and Walpole's new mixed mode i n the second Preface s i g n a l a s h i f t i n the notion of p r o b a b i l i t y , to make allowance for differences i n theme and approach. Although the claim i n the Translator's Preface that Otranto  contained  "no bombast, no similes, flowers, digressions, or unnecessary descrip-  122  tions" was untrue i n a l l except the l a s t item, Walpole did manage to avoid what he considered the major defect of previous "productions of romantic story": the invariable association of improbable events with "absurd dialogue" and absurd behaviour.  He did not bring to his charac-  t e r i z a t i o n s the psychological penetration of Richardson or the wideranging insight of F i e l d i n g , but he did introduce some sense of motivat i o n a l and e t h i c a l patterns, of the interweaving of g u i l t and responsib i l i t y , a sense that he f e l t was badly lacking i n the old romances.  If  the "actions, sentiments, and conversations" of Walpole's characters were not exactly natural, frequently anti-natural by the standards of the modern novel, they were at least more probable and less whimsical than those of the "heroes and heroines of ancient days," and as natural as might be expected i n a strange realm of miracles and supernaturalism. Moreover, the context of The Castle and a l i e n , but also t r a g i c .  of Otranto  was not only gothic  At any rate, Walpole treated the romance as  i f i t had been composed according to the p r i n c i p l e s of tragedy—as he 62 understood them.  The Translator's Preface invoked these by claiming  " t e r r o r " as "the author's p r i n c i p a l engine . . .  so often contrasted by  p i t y , that the mind i s kept up i n a constant v i c i s s i t u d e of interesting passions."  Although these terms ("terror" and "pity")were dropped i n  the second Preface, i n favour of the phrase "extraordinary positions," the same sense of high dramatic purpose remained to exercise an influence over c r i t i c i s m of the romance. of comic servants i n Otranto,  For example, i n defending his introduction  Walpole c a r e f u l l y distinguished between the  chief q u a l i t i e s of the "high" and "low" characters: "the contrast between the sublime of the one and the naivete of the other, sets the pathetic of  123 the former i n a stronger l i g h t " (p. 15). The main characters' involvement with the sublime and the pathetic, or with the conventions of tragedy, implies that they are acting at a l e v e l of elevated f e e l i n g , sentiment and language; defining this context helps to excuse their frequently a r t i f i c i a l , anti-natural speech and behaviour.  Even i f we  substitute a more accurate i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the generic a f f i n i t i e s "melodrama" instead of "tragedy"), we diminish the apparent  (i.e.,  artificiality  somewhat when we see i t against a conventional background that includes excessive emotion, heightened s e n s i b i l i t y and sentimentality, and overblown rhetoric as standard features. Otranto's  As with the excuse provided by  a l i e n setting, this means of redefining what i s a r t i f i c i a l or  natural r e l i e s on the reader's expectations f o r various l i t e r a r y  genres  and types. Having greatly reduced the psychological and descriptive aspects of the narrative, Walpole was l e f t with two main areas f o r dramatic development: action and rhetoric.  In both areas he managed to advance h i s  interest i n the excessive, the extraordinary, the sensational, and the sublime, while qualifying i t s extent and seriousness.  He successfully  imitated the pious Catholic propagandist or the medieval romancer, but retained the cooler c r i t i c a l i n t e l l i g e n c e and taste of the modern, genteel, Protestant skeptic. The action of Otranto  i s centred on the downfall of Manfred's house  and the catastrophic fulfilment of the prophetic curse against i t .  This  basic plot l i n e includes various subsidiary stories and problems: the extent and nature of Manfred's inherited g u i l t ; the actual fate of Alfonso's descendants  and the true f a m i l i a l connections among the charac-  124  ters; the romantic triangle of Theodore, Matilda and Isabella; and the fate of the l o y a l Hippolita.  The reader's desire to discover the resolu-  tion of a l l these interwoven matters—even  i f the resolution be more or  less mechanical—provides the impetus i n The Castle  of Otranto.  Walpole  depended upon this desire, and sought to make the reader conscious of i t by occasionally f r u s t r a t i n g i t .  This, he explained i n the second Preface,  was an advantage of the comic interludes: The very impatience which a reader f e e l s , while delayed, by the coarse pleasantries of vulgar actors, from a r r i v i n g at the knowledge of the important catastrophe he expects, perhaps heightens, c e r t a i n l y proves that he has been a r t f u l l y interested i n , the depending event (p. 15). One cannot reach that "depending event," however, u n t i l the characters have clashed with each other, pursued, captured, concealed, suspected, misunderstood, and discovered each other, and u n t i l they have unfolded the meaning of the events i n which they are caught up. The action i s often punctuated by violence and spectacle.  It opens  with the death of Conrad under the gigantic helmet, and culminates with Manfred's blundering murder of his own daughter, Matilda, an act which, as Jerome observes with pious s a t i s f a c t i o n , rounds out the cycle of blood vengeance: Now, tyrant! behold the completion of woe f u l f i l l e d on thy impious and devoted head! The blood of Alfonso cried to Heaven for vengeance, and.Heaven has permitted i t s a l t a r to be polluted by assassination, that thou mightest shed thy own blood at the foot of that Prince's sepulchre! (p. 140). The intervening events lay a marked stress upon violence or the threat of violence.  Indeed, this seems to be a f i c t i o n a l world i n which  animosity and force control a l l r e l a t i o n s among people.  Theodore i s  125 twice imprisoned—the f i r s t time, i n a p a r t i c u l a r l y bizarre fashion, under the helmet that k i l l e d Conrad, merely for daring to l i n k Alfonso with the helmet.  Manfred claps his chamber door shut against Matilda,  crying: "Begone!  I do not want a daughter" (p. 29).  Theodore mistakenly  fights with Frederic, the Marquis of Vicenza, his eventual and wounds him grievously.  father-in-law,  Isabella flees from the Castle not  simply  because the i l l i c i t and unnatural lechery of Manfred offends her d e l i c a t e s e n s i b i l i t y , but also because she has good reason to fear that he w i l l extort her compliance (see pp. 30-33: "Heaven nor h e l l s h a l l impede my designs! said Manfred, the servant who  advancing again to seize the Princess").  Even  brings Manfred the news of Conrad's death does not merely  report, but comes "running back breathless, i n a f r a n t i c manner, his eyes staring, and foaming at the mouth," whereupon H i p p o l i t a "without knowing what was  the matter, but anxious for her son, swooned away" (p. 22).  A l l i e d with the element of violence i s Walpole's avid taste for the spectacular and the extraordinary, which permeates both incident and speech, consistently revealing the vast distance between the f i c t i o n a l world, with i t s dangerous, freely-indulged passions  and i t s supernatural  agents, and the normal, familiar world of repressed desire, commercial advantage, and d u l l , conventional r e l i g i o n , which only occasionally intrudes.  The romance i s crammed with ominous, ghostly v i s i t o r s , with  signs that comment upon, and magnify, the human concerns of the characters.  The giant's casque i s , of course, the f i r s t of these that we  encounter, and i t s enormity does p a r t i a l l y account for the panic that i t inspires.  Like a l l the other spectacular apparitions, i t i s awesome  because i t s strangeness overwhelms the beholders.  In addition, the  126 apparitions are a l l related i n some way to the primary, ancient prophecy upon Manfred's family fortunes, which has declared "that Lordship  of Otranto should pass from the present  owner should be grown too large  to.inhabit  family  the Castle whenever  and  the real  it" (p. 22). Thus, when Man-  fred makes p l a i n h i s designs upon Isabella, the plume of the great helmet waves s i g n i f i c a n t l y at window-level,  and the p o r t r a i t of h i s grandfather,  which hangs i n the gallery, puts on an even more astonishing performance: At that instant, the p o r t r a i t of h i s grandfather . . . uttered a deep sigh, and heaved i t s breast. . . . Manfred, distracted between the f l i g h t of Isabella, who had now reached the s t a i r s , and yet unable to keep his eyes from the picture, which began to move, had, however, advanced some steps after her, s t i l l looking backwards on the p o r t r a i t , when he saw i t quit i t s panel, and descend on the f l o o r , with a grave and melancholy air. Do I dream? cried Manfred, returning; or are the devils themselves i n league against me? Speak, i n f e r n a l spectre! or, i f thou art my grandsire, why dost thou too conspire against thy wretched descendant, who too dearly pays f o r — e ' e r he could f i n i s h the sentence, the v i s i o n sighed again, and made a sign to Manfred to follow him. Lead on! cried Manfred, I w i l l follow thee to the gulph of perdition! The spectre marched sedately, but dejected, to the end of the g a l l e r y , and turned into a chamber on the right-hand. Manfred accompanied him at a l i t t l e distance, f u l l of anxiety and horror, but resolved. As he would have entered the chamber, the door was clapped to with violence by an i n v i s i b l e hand (pp. 32-33). If the sophisticated eighteenth-century reader did not e n t i r e l y believe that the apparitions were r e a l , he at least had the chance to discover what such a belief  would have been like—and  many readers were  w i l l i n g to be immersed i n that receptive atmosphere, and deceived by i t , temporarily.  The success of the i l l u s i o n results from Walpole's setting  aside of r a t i o n a l explanations f o r the numerous strange and spectacular occurrences.  Paradoxically, when natural causes are adduced for these  occurrences, they seem less credible than supernatural ones.  Having made  allowance for the actual intervention of s p i r i t s i n moral a f f a i r s , as the price of admission into the a l i e n , f i c t i o n a l world, we come to  127  suspect that any character's attempt at r a t i o n a l i t y i s self-delusion, e s p e c i a l l y since reactions and interpretations i n Otranto upon f a i t h , superstition, or passion, not i n t e l l e c t .  typically rely  At l e a s t , the  prevalent attitudes of c r e d u l i t y and near-paranoia indicate that r a t i o n a l explanations for events should be taken i r o n i c a l l y .  Such i s the case  when, i n Chapter I I I , Theodore, overcome with h i s passionate devotion to Matilda, exclaims: "from this moment, my i n j u r i e s are buried deep i n oblivion."  As usual, the response of the s p i r i t u a l forces, who are  Theodore's guardians and monitors, i s immediate: "A deep and hollow groan, which seemed to come from above, s t a r t l e d the Princess and Theodore.  Good heaven! we are overheard! said the Princess.  They l i s t e n e d ,  but perceiving no further noise, they both concluded i t the e f f e c t of pent-up vapours" (p. 95). In the version of the gothic that, following Walpole's practice, did not permit the luxury of r a t i o n a l discourse for i t s characters, such a conclusion was a sign of naivete, innocence, or complacency,  f o r the guiding p r i n c i p l e was that a l l events are portentous.  Although the v i o l e n t , spectacular elements i n otranto  serve to  reinforce both the favourable and the condescending images of i t s vaguelydefined, medieval, foreign setting ( i . e . , to evoke responses based on the two main kinds of gothicism; see above, pp. 62-68), there i s yet another dimension to their importance.  For violence and spectacle are the basic  materials of Walpole's thematic and psychological preoccupation with unrestrained criminal or sentimental passions and their display through action and speech. In the f i c t i o n a l environment of The Castle almost unknown.  of Otranto,  moderation i s  Yet, i t s absence—the preponderance of overblown rhetoric,  128  formulaic exchanges of i n s u l t or a f f e c t i o n , exaggerated responses to e v e n t s — i s not simply a matter of l i t e r a r y mannerism.  On the contrary,  these excessive q u a l i t i e s are perfectly consistent with the motive forces within the romance, Manfred's l u s t and greed, which are, after a l l , of excess, of ambition or desire indulged immoderately. action of Otranto  sins  Whereas the  mainly concerns the downfall of Manfred's household,  the r e a l centre of interest remains the crime  which has brought about the  downfall—the crime and i t s effects on both the criminal and h i s victims. During the course of the gothic novel's development,  the focus of atten-  tion shifted progressively further and further from punishment and r e t r i bution toward the mysterious, f a t a l l y a t t r a c t i v e , often noble character 63  of the criminal himself. Excess, i n i t s various forms and manifestations, i s the endemic disease of Otranto,  affecting a l l i t s s o c i a l levels i n some way.  Man-  fred's servants appear by nature incapable of giving him a straight answer; they are stubbornly loquacious, refusing to t e l l a story or give a report i n anything other than t h e i r own speed and fashion.  They have  not learned to d i s c i p l i n e their tongues, their superstitious c r e d u l i t y , or their powers of observation, though i n one scene Matilda's maid, Bianca,suggests that i t i s her superior who i s d e f i c i e n t : A bystander often sees more of the game than those that play. . . . Does your highness think, madam, that his question about my Lady Isabella was the r e s u l t of mere curiosity? No, no, madam; there i s more i n i t than you great folks are aware of (pp. 57-8). This example of impertinence follows immediately after another.  An  unseen speaker, who turns out to be Theodore, asks Matilda, after the exchange of appropriate courtesies, whether i t i s true, as he has heard  129  from the servants, that Isabella has f l e d from the Castle.  Since the  young man i s supposed to be merely a peasant and Matilda's pious humility does not prevent her from paying s t r i c t attention to s o c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s , she r e p l i e s d i s d a i n f u l l y : What imports i t to thee to know? . . . Thy f i r s t words bespoke a prudent and becoming gravity. Dost thou come hither to pry into the secrets of Manfredl Adieu. I have been mistaken i n thee. Saying these words, she shut the^casement h a s t i l y , without giving the young man time to reply (p. 57). If Theodore's c u r i o s i t y exceeds what i s proper i n his s o c i a l s t a t i o n , Matilda's suspiciousness, apparently picked up from her father, exceeds necessary caution, temporarily keeping her from meeting, and aiding, Theodore. When they f i n a l l y do meet, and Matilda a s s i s t s him i n escaping the Castle, Walpole presents their parting i n a delirium of sentiment and magnified gesture: Go; heaven be thy guide!—and sometimes i n thy prayers remember—Matilda! Theodore flung himself at her feet, and seizing her l i l y hand, which with struggles she suffered him to k i s s , he vowed, on the e a r l i e s t opportunity, to get himself knighted, and fervently entreated her permission to swear himself eternally her Knight.—Ere the Princess could reply, a clap of thunder was suddenly heard, that shook the battlements. Theodore, regardless of the tempest, would have urged his s u i t ; but the Princess, dismayed, retreated h a s t i l y into the castle, and commanded the youth to be gone, with an a i r that would not be disobeyed. He sighed, and r e t i r e d , but with eyes fixed on the gate, u n t i l Matilda, closing i t , put an end to an interview, i n which the hearts of both had drunk so deeply of a passion, which both now tasted f o r the f i r s t time (pp. 95-96). Walpole, of course, was h i s t o r i a n and genealogist enough to know that a young man, no matter how earnest, could not simply "get himself knighted" at w i l l ; presumably Theodore's peasant upbringing has l e f t him ignorant of such matters.  The point of his vows and declarations,  130  however, i s to exhibit h i s greatness of s p i r i t and h i s robust innocence. Here, as elsewhere i n The Castle  of Otranto  tragedy, The Mysterious  there i s not only flamboyant  Mother),  (and as i n Walpole's verse gesture,  high sentiment, and intense passion, but also a self-conscious display, a parading of these dramatic colorations. This sense of self-dramatization i s activated with p a r t i c u l a r force i n Matilda's death scene, much of which seems to be conceived as a succession of tableaux, each somehow more l u r i d than the preceding one. Thus, when Manfred stabs her, instead of Isabella, some of the monks nearby rush to a i d "the a f f l i c t e d Theodore" wound, while "the rest prevented Manfred  i n trying to stanch her  from laying v i o l e n t hands on  himself" (p. 140). As Matilda i s borne from the church back to the Castle, "Theodore  supporting her head with h i s arm, and hanging over her  i n an agony of despairing love, s t i l l endeavoured to inspire her with hopes of l i f e .  Jerome,  on the other side, comforted her with discourses  of Heaven, and, holding a c r u c i f i x before her, which she bathed with innocent tears, prepared her for her passage to immortality.  Manfred,  plunged i n the deepest a f f l i c t i o n , followed the l i t t e r i n despair" (p. 141). At the sight of "the a f f l i c t e d procession" Hippolita i s overcome by "the mightiness of her g r i e f " and swoons.  Matilda, who has  already argued with her father over who should forgive whom, c a l l s him to her side and "seizing h i s hand and her mother's, locked them i n her own, and then clasped them to her heart. act of pathetic piety.  Manfred  could not support this  He dashed himself on the ground, and cursed the  day he was born" (p. 142). For fear of subjecting Matilda to an excess of passionate g r i e f , Hippolita orders that he be taken to his chamber,  131 but she herself refuses to be separated  from her daughter.  Theodore  wildly i n s i s t s that Jerome marry him to Matilda, while there i s s t i l l time, continuing his demands even when Frederic, prompted no doubt by his own claim upon Matilda, rebukes him:  "Young man, thou art too  unadvised. . . . Dost thou think we are to l i s t e n to thy fond transports in this hour of fate?" (p. 143).  But we are to l i s t e n to them, f o r  "fond transports" are the main material of which this scene i s composed. When Matilda, at l a s t , expires, i n an atmosphere permeated with teary sentimentality, piety and forgiveness, the reactions are predictably and impressively v i o l e n t : "Isabella  and her women tore H i p p o l i t a from the  corpse; but Theodore  threatened  destruction to a l l who attempted to  remove him from i t .  He printed a thousand kisses on her clay-cold hands,  and uttered every expression that despairing love could d i c t a t e " (p. 144). It i s appropriate that the love between Theodore and Matilda, having scarcely begun, should end i n this embrace, with i t s hint of n e c r o p h i l i a ; for the basic excesses i n The Castle own  of Otranto  are a l l sexual.  Manfred's  crime, for which he i s personally culpable, i s his outrageous desire  to use Isabella to perpetuate his l i n e ; since she has been entrusted to his guardianship,  and has become a daughter i n h i s household, this  desire i s something between a breach of h o s p i t a l i t y and outright incest. In addition, i t causes him to disregard the absurdity of the proposed match and Isabella's revulsion, and to cast off H i p p o l i t a , despite her f a i t h f u l n e s s , simply because she i s i n f e r t i l e .  He i s not alone i n this  l u s t f u l blindness; though Walpole does not emphasize the Marquis' degree of c r i m i n a l i t y , Frederic i s quite w i l l i n g , nevertheless, to exchange Isabella's happiness for his own sexual interest.  He has f a l l e n prey to  132  Manfred's scheme f o r winning consent to h i s plan, having developed singleminded passion of h i s own—for Matilda.  a  The daughters are almost  s a c r i f i c e d i n this bargain, and Matilda i s at l a s t s a c r i f i c e d outside i t , while Isabella must s e t t l e for a love-by-proxy, for  his dead, true lover.  sharing Theodore's grief  Even Matilda, whose abstinence becomes the  subject of her maid's banter (pp. 51-53), speculates, on her deathbed, that her meeting with Theodore, breaking her vow never to see him again, "has drawn down this calamity" upon her (p. 144).  F i n a l l y , the mystery  surrounding Theodore's ancestry originates, we learn from Jerome, with Alfonso's wish to conceal h i s marriage to the " f a i r v i r g i n . . .  Victoria"  which, though lawful, he deems "incongruous with the holy vow of arms by which he was bound" (p. 147).  It i s the fate of Theodore, l i k e most  "gothic" children, to be betrayed, denied or abandoned by h i s parents, only to discover h i s i d e n t i t y much l a t e r i n l i f e ; but the whole pattern i s governed by sexual error. Walpole's interests i n erotic impulses, the spectacular r e s u l t s of crime, and magnificently excessive gesture and speech, coupled with h i s casual attitude toward punishment, were not l i a b l e to please the next major writer of new-gothic f i c t i o n , Clara Reeve. romance, The Old English gothic novel was  Baron  In the preface to her  (1778), she stated that her idea of the  the same as Walpole's, but that h i s example had shown  her certain f a u l t s which she had attempted to avoid. requirements  Reeve l i s t e d the  for excellence i n the gothic novel: "a s u f f i c i e n t degree of  the marvellous, to excite the attention; enough of the manners of r e a l l i f e , to give an a i r of p r o b a b i l i t y to the work; and enough of the 64 pathetic, to engage the heart i n i t s behalf."  While agreeing that The  133 Castle  of Otranto  f u l f i l l e d the l a s t two requirements, Reeve claimed  that i t suffered from a "redundancy" i n the f i r s t . in Otranto,  She complained that,  "the machinery i s so v i o l e n t , that i t destroys the effect i t  i s intended to excite.  Had the story been kept within the utmost verge  of p r o b a b i l i t y , the effect had been preserved, without losing the least circumstance that excites or detains the attention." various excesses of "the marvellous" i n Otranto,  Reeve l i s t e d  and t r i e d to account for  their adverse influence: "when your expectation i s wound up to the highest  p i t c h , these circumstances take i t down with a witness, destroy the  work of imagination, and, instead of attention, excite laughter" (p. 5). Whereas Reeve thought that she had perfected the formula that Walpole had been able to follow only clumsily, Walpole was not convinced by her evidence.  He wrote to Cole, on 22 August 1778,  that The Old  English  Baron was "a professed imitation of mine, only stripped of the marvellous, and so e n t i r e l y stripped, except i n one awkward attempt at a ghost or that i t i s the most i n s i p i d d u l l nothing you can read.  two,  It c e r t a i n l y does  not make me laugh: for what makes one doze, seldom makes one merry."  In  a similar vein, he remarked: I cannot compliment The Old English Baron. It was t o t a l l y void of imagination and i n t e r e s t ; had scarce any incidents; and though i t condemned the marvellous admitted a ghost. I suppose the author thought a tame ghost might come within the laws of probability.,,. D->  Although controversy over the r e l a t i v e merit of the two works continued, as subsequent c r i t i c s t r i e d to define the true gothic method, i t i s also important to note a point of agreement between Walpole and Reeve: i n her preface to The Old English  Baron, at l e a s t , Reeve admitted that the  gothic romance should be entertaining and emotionally involving, as well  134  as probable. In her l a t e r , f u l l c r i t i c a l work, The Progress  of Romance (1785),  66  Reeve avoided controversial judgments by choosing not to discuss any works published a f t e r 1770. ment of The Castle  Because she simply l e t her previous t r e a t -  of Otranto  stand unchanged, The Progress  of Romance  contains no reaction to gothic f i c t i o n as such, although she did offer praise to Thomas Leland's Longsword,  Earl  of Salisbury  (1762), mainly  for i t s accurate depiction of c h i v a l r i c manners and for i t s avoidance of violence and supernaturalism.  Even The Old English  Baron escaped comment,  though modesty had not stopped her from having her f i c t i o n a l disputants admire her own t r a n s l a t i o n of Barclay's Argenis  (The Phoenix,  1772).  It was u n l i k e l y , at any rate, that Reeve would have been w i l l i n g to treat the gothic as a s i g n i f i c a n t l y new, chief purpose, i n The Progress  separate phenomenon, for her  of Romance, was  to rescue the romance, of  which the gothic was merely a sub-type, from i t s dangerous p o s i t i o n on the periphery of decorum and moral seriousness.  She sought to place i t  within the legitimate l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n , to counteract the common innuendo to the effect that i t was a sub-literary form, suitable only for a barbarous people or an unwisely governed nursery.  Her d e f i n i t i o n s  67 of terms were sometimes self-contradictory, clear enough.  but her basic method was  Like Walpole, she argued for the legitimacy of a taste  somewhat beyond the conventional by connecting a disreputable with a reputable genre.  Just as Walpole had conceived of The Castle  of  Otranto  in tragic terms, so Reeve traced the origins of the romance to the epic and demonstrated their formal and thematic  correspondences.  135  While b e l i e v i n g that new romances could be made compatible with the t a s t e of modern readers, Reeve was more concerned with the readers' moral welfare.  Consequently,  she f e l t obliged to show that romances  could have the same degree of moral seriousness or educative value that was assigned customarily to the epic or c h r o n i c l e — o r at l e a s t , that they could be r e l a t i v e l y  harmless.  Within the dialogue format of The Progress  of Romance, Hortensio,  the disputant l e a s t convinced of the romances' value, subscribes to a severe d o c t r i n e : there are no gradations of q u a l i t y i n f i c t i o n ; a l l f i c t i o n i s morally i n d e f e n s i b l e , because i t purveys l i e s and seductive h a l f - t r u t h s , under the guise of entertainment.  Although t h i s h y s t e r i c a l 68  view was already fading from the p e r i o d i c a l reviews,  i t was also gaining  support among Methodists and E v a n g e l i c a l s , who added to t h e i r indictment a distaste for f i c t i o n ' s s t r i c t l y m a t e r i a l i s t i c outlook.^  What i s most  i n t e r e s t i n g , however, for an understanding of C l a r a Reeve's own p r a c t i c e as a w r i t e r , i s the outcome of the moral aspect of the argument.  Hor-  tensio 's f r i e n d l y opponents f i n a l l y lead him to ease h i s o u t r i g h t ban against f i c t i o n , but not without sharing h i s condescending a t t i t u d e toward c h i l d r e n and members of the "lower orders," whose i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a c i t i e s and moral tendencies d i d not enable them to choose what was f i t to read. I t would appear t h a t , between the w r i t i n g of the preface to The Old English  Baron and  the w r i t i n g of The Progress  of Romance, C l a r a Reeve  had l o s t most of her e a r l i e r , minimal i n t e r e s t i n "the marvellous" and had become more w i l l i n g to make concessions to the m o r a l i s t s . Her idea of accommodating the romance to modern tastes was to s t r i k e a balance  136  between i t s sheer entertainment value and some (fabricated) serious purpose.  But i n The Old English  importance of conventional,  Baron  i t s e l f we can see the increasing  bourgeois moralism i n determining the themes  of the gothic novel and their treatment. The motto of The Old English  Baron,  more self-righteous characters and  underscored repeatedly  by  the  the narrator, i s the omnipotence of  the "over-ruling hand of Providence" and the "certainty of RETRIBUTION." Although the ostensible setting for the novel (during "the minority of Henry the Sixth, King of England") makes the characters' b e l i e f i n such divine intervention seem plausible, this recurrent emphasis upon f a i t h and piety i s misleading,  as an indicator of the novel's s i g n i f i c a n c e ; for  purely human actions and concerns control i t s outcome and mark the l i m i t s of i t s r e l i g i o s i t y .  The actual attitude toward piety i s not the overt  one: ultimately i t i s shown to be a natural accompaniment to material goods, possessed by those who  deserve them—a luxury afforded by security  and seasoned with complacency.  In the scheme of power and interests that  dominates the narrator's attention, prayer and moral persuasion are admirable, but secondary, instruments, and any idea of higher j u s t i c e becomes i n e x t r i c a b l y confused with commercial advantage.  Litigation,  negotiation, c a l c u l a t i o n , and force of arms are the serviceable tools that bring the criminal to punishment, arrange the exceedingly happy fate of the p r i n c i p a l s , and confer a just settlement upon the ( s t r i c t l y according  to rank).  deserving  Providence and r e t r i b u t i o n are earthly,  d i r e c t , nonmysterious, and e s s e n t i a l l y r a t i o n a l . For the exotic, passionate, Walpole had imbued The Castle  sometimes ludicrous forces with which  of Otranto,  Reeve substituted the canny  137 play of modern commercial i n s t i n c t s .  This substitution shows nowhere  more c l e a r l y than i n the consistent f l a t t e n i n g of p o t e n t i a l l y romantic elements i n The Old English  Baron,  and of those the issue of courtship  and marriage i s the most noticeably affected. Courtship here involves repressing or concealing passion, while proving to the bride's family one's solvency and rank.  Marriage l i k e -  wise i s more a matter of economic than romantic or erotic attachment, although the contrary notion occasionally, and b r i e f l y , appears for the sake of sentimental interest. else, the prudent hero.  But i n such matters Edmund i s , above a l l  In compliance with the commercial mores, he  postpones declaring h i s own r e a l a f f e c t i o n for Lady Emma u n t i l he has settled the question of h i s b i r t h and estate.  For t h i s he i s later  admired; however, as a r e s u l t , he must resort to i n d i r e c t i o n i n wooing her, by describing h i s own plight as i f i t were a friend's: My friend i s so p a r t i c u l a r l y circumstanced that he cannot at present with propriety ask for Lady Emma's favour; but as soon as he has gained a cause that i s yet i n suspence, he w i l l openly declare h i s pretensions, and i f he i s unsuccessful he w i l l then condemn himself to eternal silence. . . . His b i r t h i s noble, h i s degree and fortune uncertain. . . . I t i s u t t e r l y impossible . . . for any man of i n f e r i o r degree to aspire to Lady Emma's favour; her noble b i r t h , the dignity of her beauty and v i r t u e s , must awe and keep at their proper distance, a l l men of i n f e r i o r degree and merit; they may admire, they may revere; but they must not presume to approach too near, l e s t their presumption should meet with i t s punishment (p. 68). Reeve makes this d i s c r e t i o n seem both comic and masochistic, for Emma, playing upon Edmund's temporary d i s a b i l i t y , succeeds i n humiliating him with questions and j i b e s , while amusing herself (pp. 66-69). The anti-romantic version of courtship and marriage, as transaction and prize, p e r s i s t s i n the actual wedding negotiations.  In the midst of  138  celebrations over Edmund's good fortune, Baron Fitz-Owen suggests that he and Edmund " r e t i r e from this croud" for they have "business of a more private nature to transact" (p. 142).  That business i s , of course, the  marriage agreement, and the following scene, i n which Emma i s asked to lend her approval  to the match, c l e a r l y exhibits the contrast between  passion and business upon which the very technique of the novel i s based. Emma approaches her father, "with tears on her cheek, sweetly blushing l i k e the damask rose."  Baron Fitz-Owen explains to her his need for her  consent: I have promised to a l l this company to give you to him; but upon condition that you approve him:SI think him worthy of you; and, whether you accept him or not, he s h a l l ever be to me a son; but Heaven forbid that I should compel my c h i l d to give her hand where she cannot bestow her heart (p. 143). Emma's reply emphasizes the fitness of her relationship with her father, her obedience and propriety; i t i s rather self-congratulatory, but  dwells  very l i t t l e upon the condition of her heart except i n an almost l e g a l i s t i c way.  Such emotional spectacle as there i s , i s abruptly c u r t a i l e d ,  and summarized by the narrator: A fresh scene of congratulation ensued; and the hearts of a l l the auditors were too much engaged to be able soon to return to the ease and t r a n q u i l l i t y of common l i f e (p. 144). It i s this idea of a "common l i f e " that distinguishes so sharply between the gothicism of Walpole and that of Clara Reeve. The Castle  of Otranto  Whereas i n  the characters, l i v i n g constantly on the edge of  c r i s i s , never enjoy anything resembling "ease and t r a n q u i l l i t y " — e x c e p t , perhaps, through death or seclusion from the world—the attainment of such peace and security i s the chief goal, and the common l o t , of Reeve's  139  characters.  The narrator of The Old English  Baron  scrupulously records  not only the major a l l i a n c e between Edmund and Emma, but also the lesser a l l i a n c e s , among the various sons and daughters of the lords who have brought Walter Lovel to j u s t i c e and Edmund to his r i g h t f u l p o s i t i o n . Reeve i s evidently most comfortable when dealing with the equitable exchange of property, or with the private, discreet, bloodless punishment of the murderer, or with the elaborate calculus needed to compute the cash-value of Edmund's noble upbringing.  She i s least comfortable, and  capable, when dealing with the spectacular, the supernatural, the excessive, the v i o l e n t — a n y t h i n g that d i s t r a c t s her from a certain i d e a l transformation of the past.  Unlike Walpole, she has no r e l i s h f o r  extravagant display of strong scenes, nor for close scrutiny of the criminal psyche.  Even the sentimentality which helps to nourish the  reader's imagination through more s t e r i l e , business-like passages, she governs with the s t r i c t rule of decorum.^ Reeve's preoccupation with normalcy accounts for several s t r i k i n g l y non-romantic features of The Old English  Baron.  The narration of the  combat between S i r P h i l i p Harclay and Walter Lovel, f o r example, seems mild and colourless, small compensation for the i n t r i c a t e legal and emot i o n a l preparations f o r i t (pp. 100-101).  The episode i n which Walter  Lovel t r i e s to escape from his captors i s s i m i l a r l y abridged  (p. 134),  so as to add to the general impression that he makes a-mediocre criminal. Reeve consistently avoids using suspenseful devices, which might arouse the reader to a state of tense alertness.  F i n a l l y , "ease and t r a n q u i l -  l i t y " give the moral theme to the prolonged coda that follows the c i r cumstances of the main characters and their descendants into the t h i r d  140  generation (pp. 151-53). Sir  Walter Scott attempted  to explain these features, which he  regarded as signs of the f a i l u r e of her imagination, through the l i m i tations of Clara Reeve's l i f e .  "In her secluded s i t u a t i o n , and with  acquaintance of events and characters derived from books alone," he argued, she could not avoid following "a certain creeping and low l i n e of narrative and sentiment."  Isolated from the great world of masculine  a c t i v i t y , she had to resort to " p r o l i x , minute and unnecessary  details"  which at least offered "a secret mode of securing a certain necessary degree of credulity from the hearers of a ghost-story." "'" 7  While this i s a v a l i d , useful explanation, i t i s incomplete; for i t misses the r e a l sense i n which Reeve's limited thematic and emotional range was an advantage.  Her d e t a i l s may have been p r o l i x and minute,  but were rarely unnecessary, since they not only secured her story's c r e d i b i l i t y (scarcely i n danger) but also c l e a r l y associated i t s supposed h i s t o r i c a l setting with a whole set of familiar bourgeois values, by evoking the texture of late-eighteenth-century e t h i c a l and p r a c t i c a l life. For Reeve, unlike Walpole, the h i s t o r i c a l setting was not a t h e a t r i cal  setting, where excessive, strange passions and behaviour might be  indulged with exceptional f i c t i o n a l licence, under the supervening protection of apparently conventional prejudices. For Reeve, the cont r o l l i n g metaphor for romance was more l i k e l y the classroom than the theatre.  I have already noted how Reeve's didactic preoccupation  increased between The Old English  Baron and The Progress  of Romance (see  pp. 132-136 above); i n a s t i l l l a t e r work, her Memoirs of Sir Roger de  141 Clarendon  (1793) both the didacticism and i t s effect on the treatment of  h i s t o r i c a l subjects are p l a i n .  In the Memoirs  Reeve turned away e n t i r e l y  from the purposes and techniques of gothic f i c t i o n i n order to use h i s tory as a source of e t h i c a l education: She saw i n the fourteenth century the heroic days of p r i s tine morality, and as such she described them, to rebuke her own degenerate age, to stimulate i t s ideals and to counteract the d e b i l i t a t i n g influence of pessimists and levellers. Even i n the e a r l i e r work, however, the h i s t o r i c a l setting was,  in  e f f e c t , n o n - h i s t o r i c a l . Inasmuch as h i s t o r y yielded up exotic, strange, exciting, or forbidden images, i t was view of gothic l i f e was  harmful—at  best t r i v i a l .  confined to models of superior conduct, to the  e t h i c a l excellence of the putative gothic ancestors. Baron,  consequently,  Reeve's  In The Old  English  there i s room neither for chauvinistic invocations  of Old England (despite the t i t l e ) , nor for speculative interweavings history and f i c t i o n (as i n Sophia Lee's The Recess), dismissal of vicious anachronisms.  of  nor for contemptuous  Instead, Reeve's h i s t o r i c a l setting  i s a r e l a t i v e l y neutral t e r r i t o r y where the v i c t o r y of p o s i t i v e e t h i c a l forces may  be enacted.  Thus, i n The Old English  Baron h i s t o r y was  ideal-  ized, paradoxically, by being made recognizable, and, i n that sense, r e a l i s t i c ; i t was  transformed  into an extension, or a moralist's dream,  of the present. This conjunction of bourgeois  aspirations and h i s t o r i c a l i s o l a t i o n  produces, not s u r p r i s i n g l y , c e r t a i n exemplars of the " p r i s t i n e morality." Such i s the old retainer Joseph's description of the elevation of Edmund into his new p o s i t i o n :  142  He closed the tale with praise to Heaven for the happy discovery, that gave such an heir to the house of Lovel; to his dependants such a Lord and Master; to mankind a friend and benefactor. There was t r u l y a house of joy; not that f a l s e kind, i n the midst of which there i s heaviness, but that of r a t i o n a l creatures grateful to the supreme benefactor, r a i s i n g t h e i r minds by a due enjoyment of earthly blessings to a more perfect state hereafter (p. 150). The "house of joy" i s the exact opposite of Manfred's Castle, just as the gothic method and sense of history that i t r e f l e c t s are the oppos i t e of Walpole's.  This we can t e l l even from such key words as this  b r i e f , pious account gives us: r a t i o n a l , grateful, gratitude, and enjoyment factors i n The Castle  enjoyment.  Rationality,  (especially of "earthly blessings") are a l i e n  of Otranto,  where they a l l would detract from the  romance's sheer impressiveness and from i t s emphasis on depravity and fatality. nique.  This i s a matter of h i s t o r i c a l perspective as much as tech-  Otranto  evokes the (not very s p e c i f i c ) f i c t i o n a l realm that  corresponds to the enlightened, condescending eighteenth-century view of the Middle Ages that was outlined i n the f i r s t part of this study (see pp. 65-68 above).  Though c u r s o r i l y , Walpole touches upon a l l the impor-  tant elements of that image: devious p r i e s t s , tyranny, superstition, excessive power, ignorance, and barbarous behaviour.  The manner of  narration becomes part of the matter narrated, for the novel stands at two removes from the reader: i t i s the work both of Walpole, the modern skeptic and d i l e t t a n t e , and of h i s f i c t i t i o u s Counter-Reformation propagandist.  Walpole succeeds i n balancing c r i t i c a l and imaginative responses  to Otranto,  by playing the reader's sense that the gothic i s impressive,  spectacular, or d e l i g h t f u l l y disturbing, against h i s sense that i t cannot be admirable, p o l i t i c a l l y . the l a t t e r .  But the former sense i s insinuated despite  143 Reeve's treatment of the h i s t o r i c a l setting i s much less complicated; i t i l l u s t r a t e s a variant of that kind of gothicism which I have called  e l e g i a c  or  U t o p i a n  (see p. 62 above).  She does  not  any  r e c o g n i z e  vicious o r contemptible features i n gothic l i f e — a s she conceives of i t . The alleged barbarity of the gothic holds no appeal for her, either as a source of unaccustomed, primitive excitement or as an object of d e r i s i o n and wonderment mixed.  The unrepentant malice of Walter Lovel, for example,  and the juvenile spitefulness of such unsavoury followers as Wenlock and Markham, are not supposed to be t y p i c a l of some darker aspect of gothic behaviour.  These are mere intrusions.  Moreover, Reeve does not try to  make perversity or malevolence i n t e r e s t i n g , as Walpole at least starts to do with Manfred i n Otranto.  In contrast, Walter Lovel, having  into the service of the Greek emperor, John Paleologus,"  "entered  becomes moder-  ately successful and respectable, i n e x i l e i n the dying empire (p. Reeve discovers, however, no inherent advantages i n gothic  153).  life,  beyond i t s convenient n e u t r a l i t y and i t s ancestral overtones, which f a c i l i t a t e her educative purposes.  The l i v e s of her gothic  characters  are indistinguishable from p u r i f i e d , s i m p l i f i e d modern l i v e s ; they are no more p a r t i c u l a r i z e d i n their common setting than i n their personalities. for  In her adaptation of h i s t o r i c a l materials to serve as templates  d i d a c t i c t o o l s , Reeve shows a s i g n i f i c a n t impulse i n late-eighteenth-  century gothicism: the o r i g i n of elegiac gothic i n bourgeois complacency and moralism-, rather than r a d i c a l disillusionment. In thus transforming  the age of the gothic ancestors, i t i s obvious  that Clara Reeve had l i t t l e use, or tolerance, for sensationalism  or  exoticism, for she did not read these as primary q u a l i t i e s i n h i s t o r y .  144 In addition, as her discussion i n The Progress  of Romance shows, these  were q u a l i t i e s which embarrassed her when she came to defend the o l d and new romances: they were likewise not primary q u a l i t i e s i n l i t e r a t u r e . In examining gothic f i c t i o n and related c r i t i c a l writings we w i l l find a constant  tension between the elegiac mode—particularly  Reeve's v a r i e t y —  and the darker, ambivalent mode, which exploits the otherness of the gothic.  We w i l l also find that this tension i s often expressed through  the presence or absence of sensational and exotic elements i n the novels, and through attitudes towards sensationalism and exoticism i n t h e o r e t i c a l works.  145  FOOTNOTES Sir Walter Scott, " L i f e of Walpole," Sir Walter Scott on Novelists and F i c t i o n , ed. loan Williams (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968), pp. 85-88. 2 Edgar Johnson, Sir Walter Scott: The Great Unknown (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1970), I, 396; for the application of Scott's associative habits to Abbotsford, see also p. 372. A l i c e Chandler, i n " S i r Walter Scott and the Medieval Revival," Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 19 (1964), 315-332, shows the relationship between Scott's medievalism and h i s view of the contemporary world. 3 Walpole to Cole, Corr., 1, 88. 4 Lewis, Horace Walpole, p. 98. ^Walpole to Horace Mann, 5 June 1747 OS, Corr., 19, 414; see also Selected Letters, pp. 43-46 (Walpole to Mann, 12 June 1753). Walpole to Henry Seymour Conway, 8 June 1747, SL, p. 22. I b i d . , pp. 23-24. g Walpole, Description, p. 1, asterisked note. 9 Lewis, Horace Walpole, p. 98. 7  "^The "Quadruple A l l i a n c e " consisted of Walpole, Thomas Gray, Richard West, and Thomas Ashton. See Lewis, pp. 46-47. "'""'"Walpole to William Mason, Corr.,  28, 6-7.  12 Studies, 13  W. S. Lewis, "The Genesis of Strawberry H i l l , " Metropolitan 5 (1936), 62. Lewis, Horace  Walpole,  Museum  p. 107.  14 Among the friends were John Chute and Richard Bentley who made up, with Walpole, the "Committee of Taste at Strawberry H i l l . " Chute and Walpole dominated the t r i o — C h u t e as architect, Walpole as a n t i q u a r y — f o r Bentley, the draughtsman, was conventiently out of sight i n Jersey u n t i l 1761. When he came to l i v e with Walpole they quarreled and ended the relationship. (See Lewis, "Genesis," p. 64,.) Mann, Montagu and Mason also contributed advice. James Essex designed the Beauclerc Tower and the New O f f i c e s , and probably exerted some influence on Walpole's choice of s t y l e s , drawing him away from h i s early preference for the Perpendicular gothic. Essex died before the Offices were b u i l t , and James Wyatt executed them.  146  "'""'walpole, Description, Ibxd. , pp.  p. i i i .  m-iv.  Ibid., p. i v . 18 W. H. Smith, Architecture 1 9  in English  Fiction,  p. 41.  I b i d . , pp. 36-39.  20 Walpole, Description, p. 55. See Agnes Addison, Romanticism and the Gothic Revival (1938; r e p r i n t , New York: Gordian Press, 1967), p. 41: "the post-Viollet-le-Duc mediaevalists shuddered when they found b u i l d ings which pretended to be i n the Gothic manner and yet were not stone vaulted, but were constructed i n the simplest manner l i k e a cardboard box and then plastered over with pinnacles and crockets and a few pointed arches." Michael Sadleir, " ' A l l Horrid? Jane Austen and the Gothic Romance," i n Things Past (London: Constable, 1944), relates the a r c h i tectural and the l i t e r a r y superimpositions of exotic elements upon a f a m i l i a r base: "the sound of a strange language a l l u r e d the ear, but i t s grammar (and indeed much of i t s meaning) were ignored" (p. 178). 21 James Essex, Journal of a Tour Through Part of Flandres and France in August [and Sept.], 1773, ed. W. M. Fawcett (Cambridge: 1888). 22 Lewis, "Genesis," p. 83. Walpole wrote to Thomas Barret (5 June 1788): " . . . neither Mr. Bentley nor my workmen had studied the science, and I was always too desultory and impatient to consider that I should please myself more by allowing time, than by hurrying my plans into expectation before they were ripe. My house therefore i s but a sketch by beginners." 23 Walpole, Description, p. 47. 24 Walpole to Mann, Selected Letters, p. 44. 25 For an account of the new connoisseurs' purchasing habits, see Elizabeth Manwaring, Italian Landscape in Eighteenth-Century England (l*-9«2Spireprint!,*- Londonc:•.•ErarikaCass, 1965), pp. 14-34. 26 For plans see Walpole, Aedes Walpolianae (1747), reprinted i n Works (1798); plans for Strawberry H i l l appeared i n the Description and are reproduced i n Lewis, Horace Walpole. 27 Walpole wrote to Mann (12 June 1753): "This view of the castle i s what I have just finished, and i s the only side that w i l l be at a l l regular" (SL, p. 43). This would suggest that Walpole had a p a r t i c u l a r external effect i n mind even at this early stage. 1  147 28  Ibid., p. 45: ". . . i t i s r e a l l y incredible how small most of the rooms are. The only two good chambers I s h a l l have, are not yet b u i l t ; they w i l l be an eating-room and a l i b r a r y , each 20 by 30, and the l a t t e r 15 feet high." W. S. Lewis associates the increase i n room size with Walpole's "larger income and expanding knowledge" of the gothic, after 1762. See Preface to Correspondence with Cole, p. x x x i i . 29 Allen,  Tides  in  English  Taste,  I I , p. 75.  30 102.  Walpole to Mann,  SL,  pp. 43-45; Walpole to Montagu,  Corr.,  9,  31 S i r Terry Robsart, according to Walpole, was "an ancestor of S i r [Robert Walpole], who was Knight of the Garter." (Lewis, Horace Walpole, pp. 104-105, quoting Walpole's note to his l e t t e r to Mann, 12 June 1753.) S i r Terry symbolized Walpole's romantic and noble ancestry. 32 Walpole to George Montagu, Corr., 10, 192. 33 Walpole to Deffand, quoted i n Scott, " L i f e of Walpole," On  R.W.  Novelists  and  F i c t i o n ,  p.  86.  34 Memoirs of George III, I I , 149, quoted by Lewis, Horace Walpole, p. 74; for an assessment of Walpole's p o l i t i c a l career, see Lewis, pp. 69-95. For an account of Walpole's actual, considerable p o l i t i c a l i n f l u ence, even after h i s disappointment i n Conway, see John Brooke's entry for "Hon. Horatio Walpole of Strawberry H i l l , " i n The History of P a r l i a ment: The House of Commons, 1754-1790, i i i (Members K-Y), eds. S i r Lewis Namier and John Brooke (London: History of Parliament Trust, 1964), 595-597. The r e a l i t y of this power did not necessarily detract from the r e a l i t y of Walpole's disappointment and disillusionment with p o l i t i c a l life. 35 Clark, Gothic Revival, pp. 81-82; Agnes Addison, p. 42. 36 Walpole to Richard Bentley, Selected L e t t e r s , p. 48. For an account of M i l l e r ' s works, see Eastlake, pp. <41-43> (Introduction). C l a r k , p. 35, pp. 41-42. 3 7  38  Walpole to Cole, 9 March 1765,  Corr.,  1, 88.  39 The armour had belonged to King Francis I of France, and Walpole bought i t i n 1772, after h i s dream. See Walpole, Description, p. 31 and figure opposite. Ibid., p. 32. 41 Walpole to Cole, 9 March 1765; Walpole repeated the story to Mason, in b r i e f e r form, without mentioning the d e t a i l s of the dream. He continued to claim that the writing took two months, adding that he had decided  148 to publish his work only after Gray encouraged him (Walpole to Mason, 17 A p r i l 1765, Con., 28, 7). In the Walpoliana i s the c o n f l i c t i n g claim that he "wrote the 'Castle of Otranto' i n eight days, or rather eight nights" (walpoliana, 2nd edni,, London: for R. P h i l i p s , 1804, I, 22). The c o n f l i c t probably arises from the difference between the time necessary for a f i r s t draft versus that for a completed draft. "HW showed the MS to Gray i n August [1764], and Gray encouraged HW to print i t . . . . 'At f i r s t i t was universally believed to be Mr. Gray's' (HW to Hertford, 26 March 1765)." (Corr., 14, 137, editor's note 1.) 42 The publisher's imprint for the f i r s t edition reads: "LONDON: Printed for Tho. Lownds i n Fleet-Street, MDCCLXV," but Montague Summers records the actual date of publication as 24 December 1764. See Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother, ed. Montague Summers (London: Constable & Co,,, 1924), p. xxv. Summers' edition combines the various editions published under Walpole's supervision. Subsequent page references w i l l appear within text, and w i l l be to this edition. In the f i r s t edition (1764), the romance i s subtitled "A Story"; i n the Works (1798) i t appeared as "A Gothic Story." S i r Walter Scott, i n his " L i f e of Walpole," pointed out that "Onuphrio Muralto" was "a sort of anagram, or translation, of the author's own name"—and, I would add, a deliberately transparent one. (See Scott, p. 85.) 43 Gray to Walpole, 30 December 1764, Corr., 14, 137. 44 Although i t was a f r i e n d l y detachment, Gray's report was l i g h t e r and less enthusiastic than i t would have been had he been more of a f l a t t e r e r . Walpole had also sent copies of the romance to other friends: E l i e de Beaumont, Hertford, Montagu, Cole, Thomas Warton, and Mason. 45 Mason to Walpole, 14 A p r i l 1765, Corr., 28, 5-6. The "episcopal evidence" i s supposed to be from William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester (p. 5, n. 2). Mason here notes i n passing one of Walpole's other precautions, that of committing his MS to another printer rather than issuing i t through the Strawberry H i l l Press. Apparently the hoax had some enduring appeal, for Peter Burra attests: "I have seen a publisher's catalogue which as l a t e as 1801 advertised The Castle of Otranto as by Muralto, although Walpole had admitted h i s authorship i n 1765," a deception which he attributes to the usefulness of such "non-existent creatures" i n making "the productions seem more strange." ("Baroque and Gothic Sentimentalism," Farrago, 3 [Oct. 1930], 168.) 46 Walpoliana, I, 23. See also L. B. Seeley, Horace Walpole and His World (London: Seeley & Co., 1895), pp. 24-25; Lewis, Horace Walpole, p. 161. Before presenting "Two Unpublished Fairy Tales by Horace Walpole," i n Horace Walpole: Writer, P o l i t i c i a n , and Connoisseur, ed. W. H. Smith (New Haven & London: Yale Univ. Press, 1967), p. 241, A. Dayle Wallace notes that " i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Walpole made no c o l l e c t i o n of f i c t i o n comparable to his c o l l e c t i o n of the plays, poems, and tracts of the reigns of George II and George I I I , " c i t i n g this as evidence that he "took comparatively l i t t l e i n t e r e s t " i n the development  149 of the novel. Wallace attributes t h i s to "a preference for imagination as against invention." For corroboration of this lack of i n t e r e s t , see A l l e n T. Hazen, Catalogue of Horace Walpole's Library (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1969), pp. 1-96 (Press I) and p. 97 f f . (Press K). 47 Walpole to Mason, 17 A p r i l 1765, Corr., 28, 6-7. The second edition of Otranto, bearing Walpole's name as author, appeared 11 A p r i l 1765 (see Summers, p. xxvi). 48 This notion of a balance between i m p o s s i b i l i t y and p r o b a b i l i t y had already been put forth i n John Hawkesworth's essays on narratives i n the Adventurer, No. 4, Saturday, 18 November 1752. See Eighteenth-Century British Novelists on the Novel, ed. George L. Barnett (New York: AppletonCentury-Crofts, 1968), p. 100. 49 K. K. Mehrotra, i n Horace Walpole and the English Novel (Oxford: Blackwell, 1934; reprinted New York: Russell & Russell, 1970), and J. M. S. Tompkins, i n The Popular Novel in England, 1770-1800 (London: Constable & Co., 1932) provide ample evidence from contemporary p e r i o d i c a l reviews, of the moral scrutiny that was applied to novels and novelists in general. Anyone without Walpole's status might have had to worry about writing a novel with such unconvincing moral sentiments and such i n t e r esting evilness. On the other hand, Tompkins notes that the "didactic prepossession" applied most often to mediocre novels (of which there were many) without redeeming q u a l i t i e s . Excellent moral p r i n c i p l e s , however, were not enough to excuse a lack of entertainment, and Tompkins finds evidence of a declining devotion to the didactic standards towards the 1770's (p. 72; see Ch. I l l "Didacticism and S e n s i b i l i t y , " p. 70 f f . ) . "^Mehrotra, pp. 22-37. Also see J . B. Heidler, The History, from 1700-1800, of English Criticism of Prose F i c t i o n (Univ. of I l l i n o i s Studies i n Language and Literature, 12, 2 [May 1928]), pp. 134-135; and Malcolm Ware, Sublimity in the Novels of Ann R a d c l i f f e (Essays and Studies on English Language and L i t e r a t u r e , Upsala Univ. English I n s t i t . , XXV; Lund: Carl Blom, 1963), p. 13. The reception for Otranto i n France was generally as cool as Mme du Deffand's. Harold Streeter noted that " i t does not seem to have excited much comment i n France despite i t s author's s o c i a l prestige. The Mercure de France noted i t i n d i f f e r e n t l y as a novel 'qui nous a paru propre a f a i r e passer agreablement quelques heures de l o i s i r . ' Grimm regarded with approval this 'serie d'apparitions surnaturelles reunies sous l a forme l a plus agreable qu'on puisse voir'." (The Eighteenth Century English Novel in French Translation [New York: Benjamin Bloom, 1970; Doctoral d i s s e r t a t i o n , Columbia Univ., 1936], pp. 117-118.) "'"'"Mehrotra i s suspicious of this explanation, preferring the shorter section of the Translator's Preface that i s not taken up with the transl a t i o n device: "Here he i s not puffed up with h i s success, propounding i n f l a t e d theories, or manipulating motives to place his tale i n the best l i g h t possible" (Mehrotra, pp. 10-11). Mehrotra i s too generous to the f i r s t Preface, too harsh toward the second. Although he could not have  150 anticipated a l l the attacks which would be made upon his work when he wrote the f i r s t , Walpole also used this opportunity to put i t " i n the best l i g h t possible." In addition, however unrelated his theories may be to his actual achievement, they exerted a strong influence, neverthel e s s , upon l a t e r c r i t i c s ' (e.g. Scott's, the Aikins') views on Otranto and the gothic genre. 52 Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random, i n Miscellaneous Works (London: Mundell, 1796), I, l x v i i i . 53 Levy, Le Roman «Gothique», pp. 47-53. 54 For Walpole's c r i t i c i s m of the dullness of Richardson, see Heidler, p.  131. ''^ Walpoliana,  I, 46-47.  I b i d . , p. 39. ""^Montague Summers, The Gothic Quest (New York: Russell & Russell, 1964), p. 184. Summers notes several p a r a l l e l s between the infamous career of the f i c t i o n a l Manfred and that of Manfred or Manfroi, "a natural son of the Emperor Frederick I I . " The p a r a l l e l s include usurpation and the mysterious disappearance of a r i g h t f u l h e i r , but Summers remains r e l a t i v e l y unmoved by them; moreover, he does not provide any evidence that Walpole knew about the h i s t o r i c a l Manfred, or had him i n mind when he composed The Castle of Otranto. 58 In Gothic Drama from Walpole to Shelley, Evans notes that Otranto and the genre i t i n i t i a t e d erupted from two related ideas: f i r s t , medieval l i f e was dark, gloomy, and barbarous; second, i t would be t e r r i f y i n g i f enlightened gentlemen and 'sensible' ladies were transported from contemporary society and suddenly thrust into that e a r l i e r time" (p. 8). The f i r s t idea was a source of reassurance, the second, of excitement and imaginative stimulation. 59 A l i c e Chandler, " S i r Walter Scott and the Medieval Revival," pp. 324-326. 60 See Walpole's argument against V o l t a i r e , Otranto, pp. 15-20. 5 6  C l a r a Mclntyre, "Were the Gothic Novels Gothic?" PMLA, 36 (1921), 644-667; Ann R a d c l i f f e in Relation to Her Time (New Haven: Yale Studies in English, 1920); "The Later Career of the Elizabethan V i l l a i n Hero," PMLA, 40 (1925), 874-880. Mclntyre argues that the label gothic was misapplied to the novels, most of whose fantasies were not at a l l located i n the Middle Ages, but i n "the a r t i f i c i a l period constructed by E l i z a bethan dramatists out of Renaissance I t a l y " (PMLA, 36, 666). Evans argues that the influence upon the gothic both of the Elizabethan stage and of Richardsonian s e n s i b i l i t y was merely accretive, since both were chosen only because they offered appropriate materials for the larger 6 1  151  gothic plan. Masao Miyoshi treats the connection between the E l i z a bethan and the gothic hero i n The Divided Self (New York: NYU Press, 1969), pp. 7-8, suggesting the uniqueness of the gothic v a r i e t y . Other c r i t i c s who have r e s i s t e d an influence-based theory, i n favour of a gothic "core" have included Eino Railo, i n The Haunted Castle (London: Geo. Routledge, 1927), Edith Birkhead, i n The Tale of Terror (London: Constable, 1921) and Varma, to some extent, i n The Gothic Flame. 62 For evidence of Walpole's dramatic impulses, I would c i t e his own The Mysterious Mother (1768; 1778) and Jephson's stage adaptation of Otranto, The Count of Narbonne (1780), over which Walpole exercised some rights of supervision (Otranto, pp. xxxv.irxxxvii) .- Examination of Walpole's defence of his own, unacted play shows the extent to which he believed that he had cast i t i n tragic form (see Otranto, pp. 253-260, 272-277). For the history of Otranto on stage, and i t s relationship to the tragic or melodramatic modes, see Evans, pp. 52-53; Otranto, p. x x i i i f f ; Charles Beecher Hogan, "The 'Theatre of Geo. 3'," Horace Walpole, ed. W. H. Smith, pp. 228-240; and Willard Thorp, "The Stage Adventures of Some Gothic Novels," PMLA, 43 (1928), 476-478. In a note i n his 1777 edition of Pope's Works, Bishop Warburton praises the gothic romance, and s p e c i f i c a l l y Otranto, for conformity to the aims of c l a s s i c a l tragedy, to the A r i s t o t e l i a n concept of catharsis, which Walpole himself had invoked in his Translator's Preface. This l i n e of c r i t i c i s m , however, remained undeveloped, either for support or attack. See Arthur L. Cooke, "Some Side Lights on the Theory of the Gothic Romance," MLQ, 12 (1951), 430 and n. 4. 63 Evans, pp. 81-89; Evans relates the transformation of the gothic v i l l a i n to the disintegration of the gothic hero (pp. 56-59). 64 Clara Reeve, The Old English Baron (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967), p. 4. Another form of the work appeared anonymously under the t i t l e The Champion of Virtue (1777) , but this version was less w e l l known. Further references w i l l be indicated within the text. 65 Quoted i n Summers edn. of Otranto, pp. x x x i i - x x x i i i . 66 Clara Reeve, The Progress of Romance (Colchester: 1785; r e p r i n t , New York: Facsimile Text Society, 1930). ^Reeve's mouthpiece, Euphrasia, begins the discussion by trying to make c e r t a i n key d i s t i n c t i o n s . She divides the novel from the romance, tracing the o r i g i n and technique of each to a corresponding established form—history and epic, respectively. But the c l a r i t y breaks down. After declaring that "romances, have been written, both i n prose and verse," Euphrasia also states that "a Romance, i s nothing but an Epic i n prose" (p. 51). Her chronological d i v i s i o n of romances into "ancient," "old," and "modern" i s further d i s t r a c t i n g .  152 68  Tompkins, The Popular Novel in England, pp. 70-72: " i n 1770 the Critical found i t s e l f unable to follow Bancroft i n his l o g i c a l content i o n that, since the main business of a novel i s to teach, i t had better not be too i n t e r e s t i n g , " and the Monthly remarks i n a review of 1772: "'The excellent lessons of morality which this work inculcates w i l l not be able to save i t from o b l i v i o n " ' (p. 72). 1  69 See M. J . Quinlan, Victorian Prelude, A History of English Manners 1700-1830 (1941; r e p r i n t , London: Frank Cass & Co., 1965), and Aridr-.e Parreaux, The Publication of the Monk (Paris: L i b . Marcel Didier, 1960). Quinlan i s somewhat more interested i n the p o l i t i c a l views of both groups during the Napoleonic period, Parreaux vin>. their actions to enforce moral standards. ^ T y p i c a l of this r e s t r a i n t i s the sequel to Emma's learning that Edmund i s also "the man i n whose behalf I once presumed to speak," that his fortune and lineage might permit them to marry: "From this period, the young pair behaved with solemn respect to each other, but with apparent reserve" (p. 134). When S i r Robert, "with tears on h i s cheeks" and f i l i a l obedience on h i s l i p s , seeks r e c o n c i l i a t i o n with his father, the witnesses to the scene respond mildly, impersonally, decorously, as i f to a dramatic piece: "The company rose, and congratulated both father and son" (p. 139). S i r Robert i s promptly matched with Lord C l i f f o r d ' s daughter. 7  ^ S c o t t , " L i f e of Reeve," On Novelists  and F i c t i o n , p. 100.  72 Tompkins, The Popular Novel in England, p. 231. Cooke ("Side Lights," p. 433) goes further i n drawing a p o l i t i c a l meaning from the Memoirs: Miss Reeve . . . hoped her narrative would stimulate a few readers to imitate the virtues of olden days, and would convince them that the new ideas of the French Revolutionists were not as well founded as many people believed. Thus she attempted to convert the Gothic romance into a weapon of propaganda against the doctrines of the French Revolution and to make i t the conservative and romantic counterpart of the contemporary, r e a l i s t i c novel of purpose, which was being currently used to propagandize the new r a d i c a l ideas. The lead was not followed, Cooke claims, because "the romance writers of the 1790's were more interested i n t e r r i f y i n g their readers than i n g l o r i f y i n g the old order of things." I do not believe that these two purposes are necessarily d i s t i n c t . 73 This tension evidently affected Clara Reeve h e r s e l f . In The English Novel (London: Constable, 1960) , L i o n e l Stevenson notes that Reeve's next novel, The Exiles, or Memoirs of Count de Cronstadt, '"departed from the p l a c i d i t y of her Old English Baron i n favour of emotional despair and t e r r i f y i n g p e r i l s " (p. 163). This was not, however, her ultimate technical or c r i t i c a l preference.  CHAPTER III "IMPENDING DANGERS, HIDDEN GUILT, SUPERNATURAL VISITINGS"  The Sensational,  the Exotic,  and the Gothic  Sensational and exotic elements were not the sole property of gothic novels but the common stock of many kinds of popular f i c t i o n and subliterature.  Modern influence-studies of the gothic have reinforced this  view by connecting  the gothic novel with various precursors and p a r a l l e l  types which include sensationalism or exoticism i n some way: the I t a l i a n ate revenge drama of the Renaissance,  1  the Oriental fantasy,  2  the  3 sentimental novel,  the domestic persecution tragedy of Richardson,  Prevost, Arnaud, and Kotzebue,  4  5 even the pastoral.  Sensationalism and  exoticism entered into discussions of larger issues, such as the dangers of novel-reading  or of escapism.  out the "essence" of the g o t h i c ;  7  I t i s not my aim here to search  gothic l i t e r a t u r e and architecture are  far too e c l e c t i c and synthetic to make that a reasonable  task.  However,  I do propose to set f o r t h the s p e c i a l usefulness of sensationalism and exoticism for the two main gothic strategies that I have already ident i f i e d : the ambivalent and the nostalgic.  Though sensationalism and  exoticism do not define precisely what i s gothic, those devices were exploited i n singular, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c ways by the g o t h i c i s t s . Sir Walter Scott, who paid the f i r s t serious, comprehensive, c r i t i c a l attention to gothic f i c t i o n , confirms sensational and the exotic within i t .  - 153 -  the central place of the  Scott's remarks i n the Prefatory  154  Memoir which he contributed to the Ballantyne's Novelist's Library edition of Ann Radcliffe's novels (1824), might apply equally well to the g o t h i c i s t s as a group: The species of romance which Mrs. R a d c l i f f e introduced, bears nearly the same relationship to the novel that the modern anomaly e n t i t l e d a Melo-drame does to the proper drama. I t does not appeal to the judgment by deep delineations of human f e e l i n g , or s t i r the passions by scenes of deep pathos, or awaken the fancy by tracing out, with s p i r i t and v i v a c i t y , the l i g h t e r traces of l i f e and manners, or excite mirth by strong representations of the ludicrous or humorous. In other words, i t attains i t s i n t e r e s t neither by the path of comedy nor of tragedy; and yet i t has, notwithstanding, a deep, decided, and powerful e f f e c t , gained by means independent of both—by an appeal, i n one word, to the passion of fear, whether excited by natural dangers, or by the suggestions of superstition.g Later i n the Memoir, while discussing the r o l e of exotic settings, Scott again stresses the primacy of sensationalism and terror i n the gothic: The materials of these celebrated romances, and the means employed i n conducting the narrative, are a l l selected with a view to the author's primary object, of moving the reader by ideas of impending danger, hidden g u i l t , supernatural v i s i t i n g s , — b y a l l that i s t e r r i b l e , i n short, combined with much that i s wonderful. According  to Scott, there i s only minor r e l i e f from this purpose; comedy  or novelty can scarcely detract from i t , nor exoticism alienate i t entirely.  The heroine " i s continually struggling with the t i d e of  adversity, and hurried downwards by i t s torrent; and i f any more gay description i s occasionally introduced, i t i s only as a contrast, not a 9  r e l i e f , to the melancholy and gloomy tenor of the narrative." In a l l his c r i t i c a l works on the gothic, Scott returns to the idea that manipulation of strong f e e l i n g s , and of terror i n p a r t i c u l a r , i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the genre.  In doing so, he expresses not only his  i n d i v i d u a l response but the common opinion on the subject, based upon  155  an interest i n the psychology of terror and sensationalism that had been followed since the l a t e seventeenth  century.  The study of terror that was closest i n time to the b i r t h of the new gothic s e n s i b i l i t y was Edmund Burke's Philosophical Origin  of our Ideas of the Sublime  the Enguiry's  and Beautiful  Enquiry  (1757).  into the  The fact of  potential l i t e r a r y influence has been s a t i s f a c t o r i l y  demonstrated,"^ but the degree or extent of that influence does not matter here.  After a l l , appreciation of terror as an aesthetic exper-  ience was available from several e a r l i e r sources, most notably John Dennis  1  Grounds of Criticism  in Poetry  (1704); and the p r i n c i p l e s of a  psychological method of enquiry, as employed by Burke, had been progressively sharpened by Hobbes, Locke, Addison, Hutcheson, and Hume— the l a s t three of these philosophers same problems as Burke.  having also attacked many of the  Burke's t r e a t i s e simply had the advantage of  r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and currency over Dennis' when gothicism was being formed. "^ The Enquiry,  therefore, i s worth examining i n great d e t a i l not  because i t s i g n i f i c a n t l y influenced the gothic n o v e l — t h e r e l i t t l e evidence of t h a t — b u t s e n s i b i l i t y was.  i s too  because i t helps to explain what the gothic  So much of what i t lays down i n theory coincides with  the practice of gothic dramatists  and novelists that i t serves as an  accurate guidebook through this p a r t i c u l a r branch of sensationalist fiction.  I t i s f a i r to assume that the frequent repetitions of Burke's  language and ideas throughout the period when the gothic flourished i s an index of the Enquiry's  value i n revealing the grounds of an increas-  ingly common experience—the w i l l i n g enjoyment of terror.  156  The p r i n c i p l e s of a psychology of terror are set out early i n the 12 Enquiry.  The basic p r i n c i p l e , shared with Hume,  source of stronger sensations than pleasure.  i s that pain  is a  In the sixth section of  Part I Burkeitconcludes that "the passions . . . which are conversant about the preservation of the i n d i v i d u a l , turn c h i e f l y on pain and 13 danger,  and they are the most powerful of a l l the passions."  Hume  used this comparison to account for the favoured subjects i n poetry: "But nothing can furnish to the poet a variety of scenes, and incidents, and sentiments, except d i s t r e s s , t e r r o r , or anxiety.  Complete joy and  s a t i s f a c t i o n i s attended with security and leaves no further room for 14 action."  Burke maintains this concern with measuring the strength of  sensations and of the corresponding pleasure, and i t shapes his funct i o n a l d e f i n i t i o n of the sublime: Whatever i s f i t t e d i n any sort to excite the ideas of pain, and danger, that i s to say, whatever i s i n any sort t e r r i b l e , or i s conversant about t e r r i b l e objects, or operates i n a manner analogous to terror, i s a source of the sublime; that i s , i t i s productive of the strongest emotion which the mind i s capable of f e e l i n g . I say the strongest emotion, because I am s a t i s f i e d the ideas of pain are much more powerful than those which enter on the part of pleasure. Without a l l doubt, the torments which we may be made to suffer, are much greater i n their effect on the body and mind, than any pleasures which the most learned voluptuary could suggest, or than the l i v e l i e s t imagination, and the most sound and exquisitely sensible body could enjoy. . . . But as pain i s stronger i n i t s operation than pleasure, so death i s i n general a much more a f f e c t i n g idea than pain (pp. 58-60). The l i n k between terror and sublimity i s strengthened through r e p e t i t i o n : Whatever therefore i s t e r r i b l e . . . i s sublime too . . . for i t i s impossible to look on anything as t r i f l i n g , or contempti b l e , that may be dangerous. . . . Indeed terror i s i n a l l cases whatsoever, either more openly or l a t e n t l y the r u l i n g p r i n c i p l e of the sublime (pp. 96-97). Burke even goes so f a r as to try to show a l i n g u i s t i c connection between  157 " t e r r o r " and "sublimity" (pp. 97-98). Burke's description of the e f f e c t s of the sublime upon the mind i s highly relevant to gothic techniques. l i m i t y causes the passion of  The most powerful degree of sub-  astonishment,  and astonishment i s that state of the soul, i n which a l l i t s motions are suspended, with some degree of horror. In this case the mind i s so e n t i r e l y f i l l e d with i t s object that i t cannot entertain any other, nor by consequence reason on that object which employs i t . Hence arises the great power of the sublime, that far from being produced by them, i t anticipates our reasonings, and hurries us on by an i r r e s i s t i b l e force (pp. 95-96). Thus Burke describes a condition of complete arousal and preoccupation and, most important, a condition which i s somehow non-rational or suprarational.  The enjoyer of the sublime must assume a posture of i n t e l l e c -  tual surrender  akin to the gothic victim's and the gothic  In the fourth part of the Enquiry,  reader's.  devoted to e f f i c i e n t causes,  Burke provides a second explanation of this state of submission, this time i n physiological terms.  The c r u c i a l problem i s t h i s : how can  astonishment, the highest l e v e l of sublime emotion, which depends upon pain and terror for i t s stimulation, be experienced as delight?"*"^  Burke  argues that the tonic e f f e c t of the "exercise of the f i n e r parts of the system" ( i . e . , the nervous system) through "a mode of t e r r o r " i s analogous to the b e n e f i c i a l , bracing e f f e c t of manual labour, "which i s a mode of pain," on the grosser organs ( i . e . , the muscles and tendons). The sublime has a therapeutic.effect on the nerves and the f a c u l t i e s of sensation; by seeking the sublime, one l i t e r a l l y practices The practice, however, requires moderate conditions. short of r e a l pain or torture.  (pp. 254-258). I t most stop  At several points Burke emphasizes that  158 actual safety and security are as necessary to the enjoyment of the sublime as i s a r t i f i c i a l terror: When danger or pain press too nearly, they are incapable of giving any delight, and are simply t e r r i b l e ; but at distances, and with c e r t a i n modifications, they may be, and they are d e l i g h t f u l , as we everyday experience (p. 60). Terror i s a passion which always produces delight when i t does not press too close (pp. 73-74). If the pain and terror are so modified as not to be a c t u a l l y noxious; i f the pain i s not carried to violence, and the t e r ror i s not conversant about the present destruction of the person, as these emotions clear the parts, whether f i n e , or gross, of a dangerous and troublesome incumbrance, they are capable of producing delight; not pleasure, but a sort of d e l i g h t f u l horror, a sort of t r a n q u i l i t y tinged with terror, ( . 257)..-;:... P  As we s h a l l see l a t e r , the modifications  of terror were as important to  the gothic as the sensationalism that produces t e r r o r .  Burke's thera-  peutic exercise of the nerves i s p a r a l l e l to the temporary  entry into  the gothic world with.modern prejudices and values as a sort of l i f e l i n e . Although the physiology of terror was the least p l a u s i b l e part of the Enquiry,^ theorists.  i t did generate some long-lived metaphors for gothic For example, i n her essay "On the Pleasure Derived from  Objects of Terror," Anna L a e t i t i a A i k i n (later Mrs. Barbauld) echoes the Burkean nerve theory: "A strange and unexpected event awakens the mind, and keeps i t on stretch. . . . Passion and fancy co-operating  elevate  the soul to i t s highest p i t c h ; and the pain of terror i s l o s t i n amaze18 ment."  The s u r v i v a l of such ideas as the aesthetic s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y  of shock and the transformation of tension into enjoyment was quite natural, because they helped to j u s t i f y the attractions of the gothic and to explain the fascination of excess i n q u a s i - s c i e n t i f i c terms.  159  At any rate, the physiology of  terror need not be taken very  seriously, as long as we recognize that i t was symptomatic of the approaching l i t e r a r y storm.  The key point i s the defining of a category  of l i t e r a r y (and r e a l - l i f e ) experience  that departs from r a t i o n a l con-  siderations and r e l i e s upon sensationalism pushed toward an a r t i f i c i a l limit.  Since one kind of g o t h i c — t h e ambivalent—also  takes simulated  pain, t e r r o r , and awe as i t s p r i n c i p a l components, the process of defining that category automatically amounts to an analysis of the gothic. The r e a l substance of the analysis i s Burke's examination of the sources f o r the sublime i n the second and t h i r d parts of the Enquiry. Foremost among them i s what Burke c a l l s obscurity.  I t encompasses not  only darkness, shadow, or concealment, as might be expected, but secretiveness and deliberate m y s t i f i c a t i o n . Burke's i l l u s t r a t i o n of this non-physical  sense of obscurity i s suggestive of t y p i c a l gothic themes.  He refers to "those despotic governments, which are founded on the passions of men, and p r i n c i p a l l y upon the passion of fear."  For such  governments, he observes, sublimity i s a matter of coercive p o l i c y , and they "keep their chief as much as may be from the public eye." Furthermore, "the p o l i c y has been much the same i n many cases of r e l i g i o n " (pp. 101-102). Burke's emphasis upon the effect of the obscure and the hidden agent of terror evidently coincided with the gothic n o v e l i s t s ' and was understood by them i n r e l a t i o n to their own p r a c t i c e s . mous extract "On the Supernatural  In the posthu-  i n Poetry," Ann R a d c l i f f e has one of  her scenic t r a v e l l e r s refer s p e c i f i c a l l y to this part of the Enquiry,  160 using Burke's notion of obscurity i n order to c l a r i f y a new d i s t i n c t i o n between terror and horror: "Terror and horror are so f a r opposite,  that  the f i r s t expands the soul, and awakens the f a c u l t i e s to a high degree of l i f e ; the other contracts, freezes, and nearly annihilates them. . . . And where l i e s the great difference between horror and t e r r o r , but i n the uncertainty and obscurity, that accompany the f i r s t , respecting 19 the dreaded e v i l ? "  The terminology i s c e r t a i n l y Burke's, but the  problem addressed—of decorum and e f f e c t i v e n e s s — i s p e c u l i a r l y gothic. Burkean theory and gothic experiment agree i n finding that what i s supplied by the imagination  i s more t e r r i f y i n g than what i s depicted  plainly. This does not diminish the importance of actual force, or the threat of force.  Burke affirms that, aside from objects which are them-  selves dangerous, or which are associated with danger, "I know of nothing  sublime which i s not some modification of power" (p. 110).  However, this source of the sublime i s p a r t i c u l a r l y associative and i n d i r e c t ; power i s sublime because i t represents object to i n f l i c t pain upon the perceiver.  the potential  That a potential  of the for power  should be s u f f i c i e n t agrees n i c e l y with the requirements of obscurity; for  the gothic novelist this means that an exact o u t l i n i n g of a powerful,  threatening figure may be delayed almost i n d e f i n i t e l y , f o r maximum terrifying effect.  The high ranking of power as a source of the sublime  coincides with prominent gothic m o t i f s — t h e  noble r a p i s t , f i l i a l sub-  mission, the corruption of authority, imprisonment, mental with prominent gothic symbols, which a l l represent  torture—and  the power of authority  over the i n d i v i d u a l v i c t i m — t h e c a s t l e , the monastery, the prison, and  161  the madhouse.  Considering the primary r o l e of pain and power i n Burke's  theory, i t i s surprising to find a modern student of s a d i s t i c l i t e r a t u r e l i k e Mario Praz missing the point of the Enquiry  e n t i r e l y and f a i l i n g to  include Burke i n h i s summary of "the aesthetic theory of the Horrid and the T e r r i b l e which had gradually developed during the course of the • i , „20 eighteenth century.  Burke's t r e a t i s e becomes especially useful for understanding  the  gothic when i t turns to an application of h i s p r i n c i p l e s to l i t e r a t u r e . For example, Burke measures the standard  l e v e l of obscurity i n d i f f e r e n t  arts i n order to rank their a b i l i t y to e l i c i t strong emotions.  His  axiom i s simple: " I t i s one thing to make an idea clear, and another to make i t affecting  to the imagination. . . .  A clear idea i s . . . another  21 name for a l i t t l e idea" (pp. 101, 108).  Inasmuch as poetry is an  image-making a r t , "the images raised by poetry are always of this obscure kind" (p. 106).  For this reason, poetry i s superior to painting,  for instance, i n producing the sublime; painting tends to s t r i v e for accuracy and c l a r i t y of imitation, instead of "a judicious obscurity." This preference for poetry ( i . e . , l i t e r a t u r e ) over the v i s u a l and p l a s t i c arts i s more than a v i n d i c a t i o n of the l i t e r a r y imagination by a l i t e r a r y man.  Through this argument Burke gives an alternative to the  mimetic standard of a r t , which, as I have indicated i n Chapter One, unsuited to the new gothicism.  Burke demonstrates that the less  and complete the a r t i s t ' s rendition of h i s subject, the stronger  was  accurate its  impact; and strength of sensation i s equal, i n aesthetic v a l i d i t y , to truth or harmony. Enquiry:  K i e l y comments on the l i t e r a r y sections of the  162 . . . the greater e f f e c t of the Enquiry was to enlarge the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of a r t rather than to r e s t r i c t and schematize them. Burke's discussion of language, though b r i e f , points the way to further considerations of words as suggestive and evocative rather than s t r i c t l y i m i t a t i v e . Extending his own argument that the sublime passions depend, to some degree, on an incompleteness of knowledge, he asserts that the business of poetry and r h e t o r i c i s "to a f f e c t rather by sympathy than imitation; to display rather the e f f e c t of things on the mind of the speaker, or of others, than to present a clear idea of the things themselves." ^ The connection with the gothic i s twofold.  In arguing that the  sublime must be judged according to standards adapted to i t , Burke puts forth the same sort of claim as Hurd does f o r the gothic, i n the Third 23 Dialogue and the Letters  on Chivalry  and Romance.  I t should be noted,  in addition, that Hurd's defence of the s t y l i s t i c superiority of the gothic was partly based on i t s greater capacity to "produce the sublime." Moreover, the movement i n Burke that K i e l y has i d e n t i f i e d , from imitation and image-making to evocation and exploring i n t e r n a l responses, i s the same as the movement of the gothic away from circumstantial r e a l i t y and the drama of action towards psychological r e a l i t y and the drama of f e e l i n g — a movement we have already seen under way with Walpole's Castle  of Otranto.  That movement required devices s p e c i f i e d  under Burke's concept of obscurity: suggestion,  r i c h and wild imagery,  c a r e f u l l y managed disorder, and suspense. Other items on Burke's l i s t of sources f o r the sublime help to define the aesthetics of the gothic. for example, Burke names "Vacuity,  Among the "general  Darkness,  Solitude  privations,"  and  Silence,"  (p. 125) which also happen to be the conditions of that central experience of gothic f i c t i o n , the protagonist's imprisonment. tions are also present  These condi-  i n the graphic monument of what Levy c a l l s the  163 24 " c l a u s t r a l , " Piranesi's series of etchings of the Carceri d'Invenzione. Speaking of the sublime effect of suddenly alternating brightness and darkness, Burke observes: "And  this i s not the only instance wherein  the opposite extremes operate equally i n favour of the sublime, which i n a l l things abhors mediocrity" (pp. 146-147).  We encounter the same  abhorrence i n gothic f i c t i o n , where both scene-painting and c h a r a c t e r i zation elevate the taste for juxtaposed extremes almost to a theory of personality.  Burke makes this taste consistent with his philosophical  technique: "He attempts to describe the strongest engrossing of ideas, the greatest  of emotions, the most  of pleasures, the most dreadful pains,  in an e f f o r t to ascertain what inventions of the imagination might pro25 duce them. Although  The ultimate art should stimulate the ultimate  response."  the e f f o r t sometimes y i e l d s t r i v i a l r e s u l t s , such as Burke's  exhaustive treatment of intermittent sounds and flashing l i g h t s , the desire for the ultimate and the e x c e s s i v e — t h e basic impulse of the gothic s e n s i b i l i t y — i s set by Burke on an empirical foundation which makes i t appear more credible and legitimate. The f i n a l source of the sublime worth considering here i s "the a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e , " a concept which we meet i n connection with a r c h i tecture. Burke's p l a i n opinion of gothic architecture was unfavourable: Burke himself never recognized tin'. Gothic architecture the outstanding i l l u s t r a t i o n of the sublime he advocated: magnitude, apparent disorder, magnificent profusion of d e t a i l , the expression of immense energy, the suggestion of i n f i n i t y through ornamental t r a c e r i e s , the awful gloom of the i n t e r i o r . . . his sole reference to Gothicism reveals the common Augustan prejudices. 2 6  Yet, when we examine the concept of the a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e c l o s e l y , we s h a l l see how  i t might be interpreted to support gothicism, i n a r c h i t e c -  164  ture and i n f i c t i o n , against Burke's avowed lack of sympathy. The a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e i s a d i s t i l l a t i o n of various factors: the mind's passive attitude before the sublime, the mind's acquiescence i n i t s own  deception by the sublime, the appeal of the sublime to i r r a -  t i o n a l and mechanical mental processes, and the p o s i t i v e value of power, terror, and ignorance i n furthering the sublime. impressions  The c r u c i a l fact about  of the i n f i n i t e — w h e t h e r i t i s r e a l or a r t i f i c i a l — i s  the  mind's i n a b i l i t y to conceive of boundaries or l i m i t s to the supposedly i n f i n i t e object. dered useless.  The mind i s overwhelmed, i t s reasoning f a c u l t i e s renOften this i s a matter of i l l u s i o n , and Burke offers the  example of "succession and uniformity" i n order to describe the  process.  The r e p e t i t i o n of i d e n t i c a l objects i n sequence, such as the columns of a rotunda or a colonnade or an oblong Grecian temple, tends to persuade the viewer's mind to supply mechanically i n r e a l i t y , none e x i s t s .  an i n f i n i t e progression where,  On these grounds, Burke complains against the  profusion of right-angles and broken v i s u a l planes i n the cruciform gothic cathedral plan, which d i s t r a c t s the perceiver's attention and spoils any possible i l l u s i o n (pp. 134-135). Burke's theory, however, including the a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e , adapted to support  was  the contrary argument, i n favour of the gothic.  Chief among the adaptors were Uvedale P r i c e , who brugh's and Reynolds' ideas, and the Rev.  b u i l t also upon Van-  John Milner, who  claimed  the superiority of the gothic for e c c l e s i a s t i c a l buildings was  that  authorized  by Burke and asserted that gothic churches "are more conducive to 27  'prayer and contemplation'." appeared Mrs.  Thrale was  Only twenty years after the  Enquiry  able to c i t e Burke i n support of a favourable  165  opinion of gothic things, his o r i g i n a l attitude having merged somehow with Horace Walpole's: "I observed i t was i n Manners as i n Architecture, the Gothick struck one most f o r c i b l y , the Grecian delighted one more 28 sensibly.  'Tis the Sublime & b e a u t i f u l of Burke over again."  The reversal of a r c h i t e c t u r a l attitude becomes less puzzling when we take into account a feature of the a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e , as Burke describes i t , which i s perfectly attuned to neo-gothic tastes i n b u i l d ing.  I am r e f e r r i n g to the o r i e n t a t i o n of the i n f i n i t e , and hence, the  sublime.  Burke considers the question of whether the i l l u s i o n of  i n f i n i t y operates more powerfully i n one d i r e c t i o n than another, and he concludes that the sublime i s , above a l l else, an experience of v e r t i c a l 29 or perpendicular i n f i n i t y . ness with vertigo.  The sublime affects the whole conscious-  It i s l o g i c a l that, i n comparison,  horizontal  i n f i n i t y — v i e w i n g an expansive panorama—gives an i n f e r i o r t h r i l l , for i t bears no immediate sign of power relationships, of p o t e n t i a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the superior or the i n f e r i o r .  I have already referred  (Chapter One, note 26) to V i r g i n i a Hyde's observation that neo-gothic taste was greatly affected by the Perpendicular s t y l e , favouring exaggerated, soaring v e r t i c a l l i n e s , and I believe i t a f a i r generalization. We find the epitome of this taste for v e r t i c a l i t y i n William Beckford's reconstructed F o n t h i l l Abbey, with i t s soaring, s t r u c t u r a l l y unsound octagon tower, i t s twelve-foot-high park w a l l , and i t s cavernous,  30 inhuman i n t e r i o r spaces.  If Beckford was not s t r i v i n g for t e r r o r , he  was at least looking to create very strong impressions, impressions that seem to demand a kind of perceptual submission that i s part of the sublime.  166 Burke spends r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e time dealing d i r e c t l y with t h i s aspect of gothic taste, but the remainder of h i s theory gives a s a t i s factory psychological account of i t , i n which v e r t i c a l i t y i s not merely of o p t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . Maurice Levy, f o r example, believes that the common element i n neo-gothic architecture and gothic f i c t i o n i s the replacement of a horizontal by a v e r t i c a l axis of imagination.  Levy  combines the ideas of obscurity and i n f i n i t y to extend the range of sublime objects, so that they include d i f f i c u l t or arcane knowledge, of the s e l f or of ultimate things.  The v e r t i c a l i n f i n i t e i s the l i n e of  dreaming, of i n i t i a t i o n , of questing, of descent into deeper l e v e l s of consciousness.  Levy suggests that the recurrent v e r t i c a l arrangement of  architecture and of narrative layers i n the gothic novels symbolizes the arrangement of the personality and the dreamer's penetration through i t , a movement which i s both i l l u m i n a t i n g and t e r r i f y i n g .  He also l i n k s the  idea of v e r t i c a l i n f i n i t y to the h i s t o r i c a l preoccupations i n the novels: C'est encore par un mouvement de descente v e r t i c a l e dans un passe national qu'on explique l e mieux l e retour a l'epoque des Croisades, de l a Reine Elisabeth, ou du r o i Charles l . Collectivement . . . l a societe anglaise s'enfonce dans son h i s t o i r e pour y trouver obscurement sa v e r i t e , peut-etre aussi pour y puiser des images susceptibles de 1'aider a integrer, en les fixant a. un niveau rassurant de son propre passe national, les evenements de 89.^ e  r  Inasmuch as i t can be adapted to the creation of f i c t i o n a l scenes, characters, and p l o t s , the idea of the a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e also provides a simple model of gothic technique.  Just as the viewer of a sublime  object, l i m i t e d to a monotonous yet suggestive  set of images, builds h i s  sensation of being overwhelmed ( i . e . , of the sublime) on the  extension  of those images, so the reader of gothic f i c t i o n , held i n ignorance  167  except for a few disturbing impressions constantly r e i n f o r c e d — o f p o t e n t i a l danger, for instance—imagines t e r r i f y i n g events, gruesome personal h i s t o r i e s , unseen p e r i l , through the aid of his own conspiring 32 invention. The a r t i f i c i a l i n f i n i t e and the v e r t i c a l orientation were not new features i n the l i t e r a t u r e of the sublime.  Both the Longinian and the  topographical sublime employ the concept of elevation, either l i t e r a l or metaphorical, and Burke introduces most of the key objects that would have been f a m i l i a r from either branch of the theory: mountains,  storms,  seas, chasms, awesome buildings, l i m i t l e s s space, evocative language. Burke's r e a l innovation, however, i s h i s d i s s o c i a t i o n of the v e r t i c a l axis of imagination, and the sublime experience i n general, from religious beliefs. Other enthusiasts of the sublime saw r e l i g i o u s significance i n their experiences, r e l i g i o u s symbols i n sublime objects.  For them, the  sublime was a confrontation between man with his meagre c a p a b i l i t i e s and the  immensity of the divine presence i n the physical world.  Admiration  for  sublime scenery was a form of worship well-suited to Christian or 33  D e i s t i c piety. Without denying a l l r e l i g i o u s implications, Burke describes a subl i m i t y which i s not necessarily or primarily r e l i g i o u s i n meaning.  The  v e r t i c a l l i n e extends from man to God, perhaps, but also from man to whatever i s rendered mysterious, potent and t e r r i b l e by a r t . The divine power may be the ultimate instance of such p o t e n t i a l i t i e s , but Burke does not refer a l l terror to i t .  Instead, Burke secularizes the sublime  experience by concentrating on the psychological basis for i t .  For this  168  reason, we must d i f f e r with W. F. Wright's contention  that Burke's sub-  lime "arose from a philosophical r e a l i z a t i o n of the divine i n nature" and that i t had l i t t l e i n common with Walpole's supernatural  awe, a  claim which leads him to conclude that "the appearance of terror i n the 34 English novel had been prepared f o r scarcely at a l l . " I would return to an analogy with architecture.  To counter t h i s ,  Burke founds a system  of terror on psychological, rather than r e l i g i o u s , p r i n c i p l e s at the same time that Walpole and other g o t h i c i s t s are s t a r t i n g to blend e c c l e s i a s t i c a l designs f r e e l y into their own dramatic structures i n order to evoke not only conventional  piety but i t s parody.  In both  cases the movement i s away from previous associations, towards more 35 sensational, f l e x i b l e practices.  Although the terror of the gothic  kept i t s b a s i c a l l y r e l i g i o u s , authoritarian character, acting as an 36 extension the Enquiry  of the s t r i c t e s t Protestant visions of g u i l t and punishment, shows how d i f f e r e n t powers and agents may be substituted f o r  the customary ones according terror may be expanded.  to s c i e n t i f i c principles—how  The main i n t e r e s t i n the Enquiry  the stock of i s reserved  for the a r t of pure t e r r o r , such as Scott believed that Ann R a d c l i f f e was p r a c t i c i n g . In following that i n t e r e s t , the Enquiry  reaches certain  conclusions  which help to illuminate the difference between ambivalent and nostalgic gothicism. 1. The Enquiry  establishes a category of art whose aim i s not  mimesis but the stimulation of strong feelings. this as an i n f e r i o r purpose.  Burke does not treat  169  2. The  Enquiry  demonstrates how  t h r e a t of p e r s o n a l i n j u r y , may  be  the s p e c t a c l e of p a i n , or  the source  the  of a mixed, m o d i f i e d  pleasure. 3. In a n a l y z i n g those limity,  the Enquiry  q u a l i t i e s of o b j e c t s which l e n d them sub-  a r r i v e s at an account of the core of ambivalent  g o t h i c i s m , which seeks to evoke an imaginary of r u t h l e s s power, w i t h o u t 4. The  yet q u a s i - h i s t o r i c a l  age  s e n t i m e n t a l i t y or n o s t a l g i a i n t e r v e n i n g .  common f a c t o r i n a l l sublime p r o p e r t i e s i s e x t r e m i t y .  The  degree of e x c e l l e n c e of a sublime o b j e c t depends upon the i n t e n s i t y p u r i t y of the t e r r o r t h a t i t i n d u c e s . value  Thus, the c r i t e r i o n of a e s t h e t i c  s h i f t s away from the u s u a l t e s t s : moral v a l u e , e d u c a t i v e  formal p e r f e c t i o n — a l l y i e l d  and  to the s t r e n g t h of the r e a d e r ' s  value,  or viewer's  sensations. 5. The Enquiry and  presents  t e r r o r as l e g i t i m a t e l i t e r a r y d e v i c e s , and,  a l s o the c h i e f instruments 6. The and  s u r p r i s e , suspense, shock,  Enquiry  of ambivalent  suggestiveness,  of course,  these  are  gothicism.  d e f i n e s s u b l i m i t y as whatever draws the  imagination  the senses beyond u s u a l l i m i t s , i n c l u d i n g the e x t r a o r d i n a r y and  unknowable.  Though analyzed  non-rationally.  The  r a t i o n a l l y by Burke, the sublime  t e r r o r o f the sublime o r i g i n a t e s i n the  the  operates spectator's  sense of v u l n e r a b i l i t y and h e l p l e s s n e s s , i n h i s d e l i g h t at a t h r e a t s u r v i v e d , at a s u p e r i o r power encountered and w i t h s t o o d .  The  willing  v i c t i m , l i k e many g o t h i c p r o t a g o n i s t s , meets a f a c s i m i l e of death or of i n n e r darkness which, because i t i s o n l y a f a c s i m i l e , can be vanquished. Pamela Kaufman has Freudian  dualism  of eros  i n t e r p r e t e d t h i s conquest i n terms of and  thanatos.  the  In e f f e c t , w i t h i n the a r t of  170  terror the "fantasies symbolize a preoccupation  with s u r v i v a l . . . .  Both Burke and Freud agree that the fundamental human desire i s to survive and to l i v e as i n d i v i d u a l s . . . . They d i f f e r over which expresses this w i l l for self-preservation."  'passion'  Kaufman then draws a con-  nection between Burke's interest i n surviving dangers and the gothic: "In Freudian  terms, the Gothic fantasy i s counter-phobic, that i s , i t  37 embraces the very t e r r o r that i t fears."  The l a s t phrase i s a fine  rendition of the ambivalence of the gothic. The d i r e c t thrust of the Enquiry  i s away from conventional  experiences and towards the exploitation of shock for i t s own the imaginative  exercise—and  aspects of the psyche. gothic sensationalism,  sake—for  for the sake of revealing the darker  Yet, i f the Enquiry  does give a rationale for  at the same time i t also gives, i n i t s very  d e f i n i t i o n of the sublime, the means of opposing excessive ism.  literary  sensational-  Along with the more r a d i c a l statements we discover a concern for  decorum and taste.  Or, as K i e l y has summarized the relationship between  Burke's sublime and the gothic: "One  finds i n Walpole, R a d c l i f f e , Reeve,  38 and Lewis not only Burke's ideas but Burke's problems." The most persistent problem was  setting out boundaries for the  sensational, balancing freedom of exploration against disgust and moral revulsion.  For the gothic, this problem coincides with the central con-  f l i c t between nostalgia and ambivalence.  In general, we w i l l find that  nostalgia m i l i t a t e s for more severe l i m i t s upon sensationalism, because, as we have seen i n Chapter One, world i s more s e l e c t i v e .  the nostalgic version of the gothic  Ambivalence requires the techniques of sensa-  tionalism i n order to depict the excesses of gothic power that i t both  171 admires and condemns. Burke approached the problem by t r y i n g to indicate exactly what kind and what degree of terror were bearable, for  and by t r y i n g to account  the reaction to r e a l , as well as a r t i f i c i a l l y - d e p i c t e d , scenes of  distress.  Burke recognizes  that there i s a difference between delight-  f u l horror and disgust, or actual pain; therefore, he favours a surrogate danger, made up of associations with potent objects, suggestions of unnamed threats, and substitutions of symbolic figures f o r ultimate sources of power. To h i s successors sive.  this solution was more provocative  than conclu-  After a l l , they had immediate r e a l i t i e s l i k e the gothic novel  and gothic drama to consider.  Mrs. Barbauld (Anna L a e t i t i a A i k i n ) , i n  a work s p e c i f i c a l l y devoted to the problem, shows with her e s s e n t i a l l y anti-sensationalist p o s i t i o n how sensitive the issue of propriety had become and how many negative cases she saw around her: It i s undoubtedly true . . . that the representation of d i s tress frequently gives pleasure; from which general observation many of our modern writers of tragedy and romance seem to have drawn this i n f e r e n c e , — t h a t i n order to please, they have nothing more to do than to paint d i s t r e s s i n natural and s t r i k i n g colours. With this view, they heap together a l l the a f f l i c t i n g events and dismal accidents their imagination can furnish; and when they have half broke the reader's heart, they expect he should thank them f o r h i s agreeable entertainment. An author of this class s i t s down, pretty much l i k e an i n q u i s i t o r , to compute how much suffering he can i n f l i c t upon the hero of h i s tale before he makes an end of him.^g At f i r s t i t appears as i f Mrs. Barbauld were merely questioning the more extravagant uses of the sensational, but as she continues her d i s cussion i t becomes clear that she i s i d e n t i f y i n g a f a i l u r e of what Hume called "conversion"—the  accommodation of d i s t i n c t , and often contrary,  172  passions. converted  In the process, she implies that p a i n f u l sensations cannot be or modified toward anything l i k e Burke's surrogate pain, and  that p i t y — t h e preferable emotion—operates quite  independently:  The view or r e l a t i o n of mere misery can never be pleasing. We have, indeed, a strong sympathy with a l l kinds of misery; but i t i s a f e e l i n g of pure unmixed pain, s i m i l a r i n kind, though not equal i n degree, to what we f e e l for ourselves i n the l i k e occasions; and never produces that melting sorrow, that t h r i l l of tenderness, to which we give the name of p i t y . They are two d i s t i n c t sensations, marked by very d i f f e r e n t external expression. One causes the nerves to t i n g l e , the f l e s h to shudder, and the whole countenance to be thrown into strong contradictions; the other relaxes the frame, opens the features, and produces t e a r s . ^ This f i n a l contrast i s equal to the worst of Burke's physiology, yet the prevailing contrast i s that between pain, which i s neither an aesthetic nor a controllable sensation, and p i t y , which 'is both aesthetic and decorous.  I t was not the p a i n f u l subject but the p a i n f u l treatment of  i t that Mrs. Barbauld d i s l i k e d , the dropping of p i t y from the c l a s s i c terror  and p i t y of tragedy. This c r i t i c i s m had j u s t i f i c a t i o n , at least as far as the gothic was  concerned.  The i n t e r n a l struggle within the gothic centred on questions  of excessive sensationalism  ( i . e . , terror-mongering) and the excessive  sentimentality usually associated with nostalgia.  In 1757 Burke set  aside p i t y as the chief source of our interest i n d i s t r e s s i n g events and placed terror at the core of a prospective l i t e r a r y genre.  In 1764  Horace Walpole's translator persona claimed terror as his "author's p r i n c i p a l engine" i n Otranto.  And i n 1824 Scott would make terror the  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c instrument of the gothic. favoured  instrument,  But i t i s not Mrs. Barbauld's  and her c r i t i c i s m represents the countervailing,  censorious voice which required moral elevation, sympathy, and r e s t r a i n t  173  rather than spectacle. Mrs. Barbauld i s exact i n advising how painful subjects are to be managed.  Her recommendations comprise a survey of a n t i - s e n s a t i o n a l i s t  opinion: . . . no scenes of misery ought to be exhibited which are not connected with the display of some moral excellence or agreeable quality. . . . The misfortunes which excite p i t y must not be too horrid and overwhelming. . . . A judicious author w i l l never attempt to raise p i t y by any thing mean or disgusting there must be a degree of complacence mixed with our sorrows to produce an agreeable sympathy; nothing, therefore, must be admitted which destroys the grace and dignity of suffering. . . . Scenes of d i s t r e s s should not be too long continued. A l l our f i n e r feelings are i n a manner momentary, and no art can carry them beyond a certain point, either i n intenseness or duration. Constant suffering deadens the heart to tender impressions. . . . It i s therefore necessary, i n a long work, to r e l i e v e the mind by scenes of pleasure and gaiety . . . provided care be taken not to check the passions while they are f l o w i n g . ^ However, Mrs. Barbauld further complicates her position i n her 42 essay "On Romances: An Imitation."  Here she inquires into the reasons  for our paradoxical delight i n "the groans of misery" and  "complicated  anguish," and dismisses as s i m p l i s t i c and mistaken two previous l i n e s of argument which Burke had also dismissed: that the spectacle of f i c t i o n a l 43 sufferings aids the reader i n bearing his own r e a l ones; sense of commiseration  and that the  a r i s i n g from f i c t i o n a l sufferings gives the  reader a chance to congratulate himself on h i s s e n s i t i v i t y and magnanimity.  Unfortunately, Mrs. Barbauld does not present her own  views on the subject.  positive  Nevertheless, scanning her c r i t i c a l writings we  shocka techniques. find measure of consistency i n her suspicion of strong scenes  and  174  Another moderating voice i s Dr. Nathan Drake's.  In h i s  Literary  Hours, Drake regards l i t e r a r y fantasy as a refuge from r e a l horrors, i n p a r t i c u l a r from those of the Napoleonic Wars: Long . . . as our eyes have been now turned on scenes of turbulence and anarchy, long as we have listened with horror to the storm which has swept over Europe with such ungovernable fury, i t must prove highly g r a t e f u l , highly soothing to the wearied mind, occasionally to repose on such topics as l i t e r ature and imagination are w i l l i n g to a f f o r d . ^ This should not suggest, however, that Drake was attracted to l i t e r a t u r e only as a means of escape and relaxation.  Such motivation  would have prejudiced him against gothic sensationalism, which offered escape, perhaps, but not of a kind "highly soothing to the wearied mind." In f a c t , Drake was drawn to "gothic superstition" (this included a l l forms of supernaturalism), which he f e l t was an enduring imaginative 45 influence, "even i n the present polished period of society."  Else-  where Drake made i t clear that his contemporaries could only be expected to produce, and to understand, r e p l i c a s of a past b e l i e f which was no longer emotionally or i n t e l l e c t u a l l y available to them: In this age, when science and l i t e r a t u r e have spread so extensively, the heavy clouds of superstition have been d i s persed, and have assumed a l i g h t e r and less formidable hue; for though the tales of Walpole, Reeve, and R a d c l i f f e , or the poetry of Weiland, Burger, and Lewis, s t i l l powerfully arrest attention, and keep an ardent c u r i o s i t y a l i v e , yet i s their machinery by no means an object of popular b e l i e f , nor can i t now lead to dangerous c r e d u l i t y , as when i n the times of Tasso, Shakspearef,-j and even Milton, witches and wizards, spectres and f a i r i e s , were nearly as important subjects of f a i t h as the most serious doctrines of r e l i g i o n . , ^ 46 Drake valued gothic superstition as a "source of imagery," capable of bringing about "a grateful astonishment, a welcome sensation of 47 fear."  He feared that attempts to d i s c r e d i t and expunge from poetry  even the simplest and most popular superstitions would cause "our  175 national poetry" to "degenerate into mere morality, c r i t i c i s m , and s a t i r e . . . the sublime, the t e r r i b l e , and the f a n c i f u l i n poetry,  48 w i l l no longer e x i s t . " Walpole's, and Burke's.  Drake's l o y a l t i e s were close to Hurd's, There i s the same delight i n fantasy, the same  dread of banality and mere common-sense, the same enthusiasm for gothic vitality.  But, l i k e Hurd i n his c u l t u r a l defence of gothicism  and  Walpole i n his a r c h i t e c t u r a l fantasies, Drake i n s i s t e d on adding a "sportive" element to the more sombre concept of t e r r o r - i n s p i r e d imagination described by Burke. low-keyed.  Thus he was  His gothicism was more e c l e c t i c yet  able to s k i r t the problem of sensationalism  and  i t s l i m i t s by i d e n t i f y i n g two complementary aspects of gothic superstition: . . . although this kind of s u p e r s t i t i o n be able to arrest every f a c u l t y of the human mind, and to shake, as i t were, a l l nature with horror, yet does i t also delight i n the most sportive and elegant imagery. . . . The vulgar Gothic . . . turns c h i e f l y on the awful m i n i s t r a t i o n of the Spectre, or the innocent gambols of the Faery.^ Drake carried over this d i s t i n c t i o n i n his analysis of f o l k l o r e and popular b e l i e f s , and was  evidently interested enough i n advancing the  cause of the l i g h t e r , "sportive" gothic and i t s compatibility with more t e r r i f y i n g kind to compose his own t i o n piece.  the  short f i c t i o n as a demonstra-  The r