Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Sinister HistoriesGothic Novels and Representations of the Past, From Horace Walpole to Mary Wollstonecraft$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jonathan Dent

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719095979

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719095979.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

‘[B]ringing this deed of darkness to light’: representations of the past in Clara Reeve’s The Old English Baron (1778)

‘[B]ringing this deed of darkness to light’: representations of the past in Clara Reeve’s The Old English Baron (1778)

Chapter:
(p.67) 2 ‘[B]ringing this deed of darkness to light’: representations of the past in Clara Reeve’s The Old English Baron (1778)
Source:
Sinister Histories
Author(s):

Jonathan Dent

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719095979.003.0003

Building on the notion that the Gothic is shaped by (and responds to) Enlightenment historiography and shifting conceptions of the past in the eighteenth century, this chapter proposes that The Old English Baron can be read as a reaction to a popular (and frequently neglected) work of proto-Enlightenment English history that Reeve was very familiar with: Nicholas Tindal’s translation of Rapin’s History of England (1721–1731). Focusing on this previously ignored relationship, this chapter considers the religious and political implications of Rapin’s history for the Gothic past presented in The Old English Baron. Furthermore, it reveals the ways in which Reeve’s novel can be read as a rewriting of Otranto and draws attention to the historical specificity that she introduces to the Gothic genre at this time. Focusing on Reeve’s Old Whig political beliefs and the English setting of her novel, it assesses the extent to which The Old English Baron conveys Whig historico-political nightmares and focuses on how her Gothic past betrays contemporary anxieties. This chapter shows how The Old English Baron subverts the Walpolean Gothic and responds to the Enlightenment drive to secularise the historical cause.

Keywords:   Clara Reeve, Paul M. Rapin de Thoyras, History, Religion, Secularisation, Gothic, Whig

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.