Disturbing the Female Gothic: An Excavation of the Northanger Novels

  • Angela Wright


Whatever else it may have contained, Isabella Thorpe’s pocket-book does not register, record or establish a ‘Female Gothic’. It contains the titles of seven novels, not their authors. Consequently, this pocket-book reading list conveys no information about the gender of the authors. By contrast, John Thorpe responds to Catherine Morland’s query ‘Have you ever read Udolpho, Mr Thorpe?’ with ‘Not I, faith! No, if I read any it shall be Mrs. Radcliff’s [sic];’ (45), and Henry Tilney praises the ‘hair-raising’ prose of ‘Mrs. Radcliffe’ (95). It is the reading minds of John and Henry, not those of Isabella and Catherine, which respond to authorship, and the gendering of a text through authorship.


Marital Conflict Woman Writer Marital Violence Reading Mind Socratic Dialogue 
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  1. 1.
    Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, ed. Marilyn Butler (Harmondsworth: Penguin [1818], 1995), 37.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ellen Moers, Literary Women, introd. Helen Taylor (London: The Women’s Press [1976], 1986), 91.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jacqueline Howard, Reading Gothic Fiction: A Bakhtinian Approach (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 57.Google Scholar
  4. 23.
    Eliza Parsons, Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story. In Two Volumes, ed. Diane Long Hoeveler (Kansas City, MO: Valancourt [1793], 2006), 4.Google Scholar
  5. 30.
    Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, ed. Bonamy Dobree (Oxford: Oxford University Press [1794], 1986), 351.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Angela Wright 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Wright
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

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