The Gothic and Catholicism

Religion, Cultural Exchange and the Popular Novel, 1785-1829

Author(s) Maria Purves

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Gothic Literary Studies

  • September 2009 · 192 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9780708320914

About The Book

This book constitutes the first sustained analysis that comprehensively proves that revision is required of the critical commonplace idea in Gothic scholarship that the roots of the Gothic novel should be seen within a late eighteenth century popular anti-Catholicism. Whereas scholarship has always maintained that the Catholic motifs contained in Gothic novels (monks, nuns, abbeys, confessionals) signify anti-Catholic prejudice and anti-Church subversiveness on the part of the author and his/her audience, this study argues that the Gothic was neither anti-Catholic nor anti-Church, and that England was much more sympathetic towards Catholicism during the long eighteenth century - particularly during and immediately after the French Revolution - than has previously been supposed. As well as discussing several new Gothic texts within this context, this study unveils the extent of English appreciation of Catholicism - often represented by an appropriation of Catholic aesthetics - and the French Catholic 'sentimental' origins of many of Gothic's supposedly 'diabolically dissident' themes and motifs. The book tus brings to light many new aspects both of the Gothic genre and of an important era in British history.


"The Gothic novel transports you to a strange and fascinating world quite unlike your own, far away from the calm drawing rooms of Regency England. It is the ultimate escapist literature. It is this world, and its mutually beneficial relationship with Catholicism, that Dr Maria Purves so beautifully illuminates for the reader." The Tablet, May 2010

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Maria Purves

Dr Maria Purves has served as associate director of the Princeton Atelier, an arts program based at Princeton University.

Read more



Enjoy 70% off over 300 titles!