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Satan as the liberator of woman in four gothic novels, 1786-1820
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
2009 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Some scholars have been keen to emphasize the gothic novel as a predominately female genre, created by a woman, Ann Radcliffe, and throughout the ages read mostly by women. Gothic literature is frequently centred on an ambivalent discourse concering transgression, where the transgressive is often portrayed in a fashion not strictly condemning. The paper examines four major Gothic novels - William Beckford’s Vathek (1786), Matthew Lewis’ The Monk (1796), Charlotte Dacre’s Zofloya, or The Moor (1806), and Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) - where females are given agency and power by colluding with Satan, something which is depicted in an ambivalent manner. The mostly female readership surely did not consist only of conservative individuals fully satisfied with traditional roles for women. The readers who had a more rebellious nature might have identified to some extent with the demonic females in the novels, since these are typically the only females in the narratives who have any agency and power to speak of. The paper attempts readings showing in what way the texts facilitate such identification.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
Keyword [en]
Satanism, Gothic novel, Feminism, Gender studies
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-27920OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-27920DiVA: diva2:220541
Conference
Paper presented at the interdisciplinary conference "Women, Evil and the Feminine", Budapest, May 1-3, 2009.
Note
Paper presented at the interdisciplinary conference "Women, Evil and the Feminine", Budapest, May 1-3, 2009.Available from: 2009-06-01 Created: 2009-06-01 Last updated: 2012-02-29Bibliographically approved

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  • nn-NB
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