Gothic Antiquarianism in the Eighteenth Century

Authored by: Rosemary Sweet

The Gothic World

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415637442
eBook ISBN: 9780203490013
Adobe ISBN: 9781135053062


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Much of this volume is concerned with the richly varied output of the literary Gothic which is now a well-established genre. In the eighteenth century, however, the literary Gothic was never more than a small, if highly influential, subgenre, and the term “Gothic” had acquired none of the connotations which would be subsequently derived from association with literature, art and film. But it is important to remember that the literary Gothic did not emerge ex nihilo; rather it drew on well-established cultural meanings and a long-standing interest in the Gothic which were developed largely within the antiquarian tradition. Horace Walpole, progenitor of the Gothic novel, may have spurned association with the Society of Antiquaries, but his circle of friends and correspondents, his own reading and most of all the design and decor of Strawberry Hill, bear witness to his deep familiarity with the antiquarian study of the Gothic. It is the antiquarian Gothic that this chapter will pursue.

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