This unique volume offers up a groundbreaking analysis: proof that a revision is required of the critical commonplace idea in gothic scholarship that the roots of the gothic novel belong within the popular anti-Catholicism of late eighteenth-century Britain. Arguing that despite the predominance of Catholic motifs in gothic novels (monks, nuns, abbeys, and confessionals have long been interpreted as signifying subversiveness), the gothic was neither anti-Catholic nor anti-church, and instead part of a British culture much more sympathetic towards Catholicism during the long eighteenth century—especially during and immediately following the French Revolution—than has been previously supposed.
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Maria Purves has served as associate director of the Princeton Atelier, an arts program based at Princeton University.