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Canon Love in Gothic Libraries

Canon Love in Gothic Libraries

Chapter:
(p.195) Chapter Five Canon Love in Gothic Libraries
Source:
Loving Literature
Author(s):
Deidre Shauna Lynch
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226183848.003.0006

This chapter considers the quotation compulsion of the romantic-period gothic novel, interpreting it as a manifestation of the ambivalent canon-love of a fictional mode that knew itself to be sub-canonical. Adorned with chapter epigraphs citing Shakespeare, Milton, and others, and modelling through their heroines lessons in literary appreciation, the gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe and her many imitators resembled the canon-forming, nation-building historical anthologies with which they were contemporary. They should be considered an equally important institution of literary transmission, likewise serving to provide the reader access to the heritage that was hers as a member of the reading nation. But while portraying reading as an experience of haunting and assimilating encounters with poetry in particular to encounters with apparitions, gothic novels also brought to view the dark side to reverence for the literature of the dead and to the arrangement that made writing’s pastness crucial to its canonicity.

Keywords:   Ann Radcliffe, apparition, gothic, quotation, haunting, canonicity, heritage, nation, Shakespeare

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