Description: The purpose of this paper is to determine why Mrs. Radcliffe's gothic novels were popular with contemporary readers. Sources include reviews from eighteenth century periodicals, essays of early nineteenth century critics such as William Hazlitt and studies of her work by twentieth century critics. The thesis is organized in four chapters each of which discusses one aspect of her work which particularly pleased her contemporary reviewers and critics: her invention, her attitude toward superstition, her use of poetic justice, and her outlook on nature. These aspects of her work alone did not secure for her the popularity she enjoyed, but, when combined with her ability to create suspense, helped her become one of the most popular writers of her era.
Date: December 1976
Creator: Freeman, Laurie