The Late Romantic Turn

  • Avril Horner
  • Sue Zlosnik


Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent was published in 1800 and Eaton Stannard Barrett’s The Heroine in 1813, that is, after the Gothic novel had peaked in terms of its popularity during the 1790s and before those better-known parodies of Gothic fiction, Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey and Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which were published in 1818.1 Whereas The Heroine is a clear parody of the conventions of the popular Gothic novel, Castle Rackrent is perhaps a more subtle parody of the Gothic mode. Both Edgeworth and Barrett were commended by Austen, who wrote in a letter dated 2 March 1814: ‘I finished The Heroine last night and was very much amused by it … It diverted me exceedingly … I have torn through the third volume… I do not think it falls off. It is a delightful burlesque particularly on the Radcliffe style.’2 Belinda, Maria Edgeworth’s novel published in 1801, is of course linked with Fanny Burney’s Cecilia (1782) and Camilla (1796) in Austen’s Northanger Abbey as one of those works ‘in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed to the world in the best chosen language’.3


Eighteenth Century Legal Subject Black Book Late Romantic Period Romantic Satire 
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© Avril M. Horner and Susan H. Zlosnik 2005

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  • Avril Horner
  • Sue Zlosnik

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