WHITCROFT, ERIN,BARBARA (2014) THE FACE, THE MIND, THE TEXT: READING FOR CHARACTER IN THE NOVELS OF ANN RADCLIFFE. Masters thesis, Durham University.
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Literary scholars have placed Ann Radcliffe’s novels in a variety of different categories: Gothic, Sentimental, and Pre-Romantic. Additionally, her texts have been used as examples of psychoanalysis, feminist and post-structuralist theory. While these approaches capture some aspects of her achievement, they neglect others. In fact, these approaches have often obscured fundamental aspects of her texts, most importantly her approach to character.
There has been a critical inclination to ignore the role of character in Radcliffe’s texts. However, her texts are deeply interested in the workings of the mind and in the concept of interiority. It is one of the central tenets of this thesis that the connection between body, mind and text is fundamental to Radcliffe’s writing.
The first chapter of this thesis explores Radcliffe’s approach to characterisation in the context of eighteenth-century traditions. Through an analysis of Radcliffe’s characterisation, the importance of the visual field emerges and becomes the focus of the second chapter. In the second chapter, the connection between the discourse of physiognomy and Radcliffe’s characterisation is explored. Physiognomy is established as a key discourse underpinning Radcliffe’s epistemological viewpoint throughout her fiction. The connections between Radcliffe’s fiction and the discourse of physiognomy have been under-researched and I believe offer an important context for understanding the aims of Radcliffe’s fiction. Finally, in chapter three the role of portraiture and aesthetic theory is explored; its connections with the discourse of physiognomy are clear and further reinforce the importance of vision as an epistemological concept within Radcliffe’s novels. Chapter three is also concerned with the wider textual nature of Radcliffe’s penultimate novel The Mysteries of Udolpho and uses the idea of Derrida’s parergon to reconsider the relationship between the body and the landscape in her fiction.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Masters)|
|Award:||Master of Arts|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||09 Sep 2014 08:58|