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The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762-1800 : Cambridge Studies in Romanticism (Paperback) - E. J. Clery

The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762-1800

Cambridge Studies in Romanticism (Paperback)

Paperback Published: 15th November 1999
ISBN: 9780521664585
Number Of Pages: 240

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A genre of supernatural fiction was among the more improbable products of the Age of Enlightenment. This book charts the troubled entry of the supernatural into fiction, and questions the historical reasons for its growing popularity in the late eighteenth century. Beginning with the notorious case of the Cock Lane ghost, a performing poltergeist who became a major attraction in London in 1762, and with Garrick's spellbinding and paradigmatic performance as the ghost-seeing Hamlet, it moves on to look at the Gothic novels of Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, M. G. Lewis, and others, in unexpected new lights. The central thesis concerns the connection between fictions of the supernatural and the growth of consumerism: not only are ghost stories successful commodities in the rapidly commercialising book market, they are also considered here as reflections on the disruptive effects of this socio-economic transformation.

Industry Reviews

'Clery's breadth recalls Raymond Williams who could also have written a powerful statement like this ... The Rise of Supernatural Fiction should be read by an audience far wider than one concerned with Gothic culture alone.' The Wordsworth Circle '... superbly articulate and engaging ... this latest addition to the excellent Cambridge Studies in Romanticism series is a refreshingly new 'empirical' approach to fantastic literature that relates its contents to issues of social, political and economic change'. The Byron Journal '... a thoroughly and widely researched book ... intermittently witty as well as given to acute and insightful analysis'. Romanticism on the Net 'The best book to appear on the Gothic this year.' Year's Work in English Studies 'Clery's is one of the best books on the novel in the Romantic period which I have recently read. [Clery] provides splendidly selected and marshalled evidence in support of her thesis. But perhaps best of all, she situates her discussions within, and constantly refers to the power of, the novel-reading market-place of the Romantic period. This allows Clery, more successfully than any other critic I have read, to establish the institutional links between the providers and consumers of supernatural fiction in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, authoritatively to present the cultural expectations of audiences concerning the Gothic novels and romances they read and thus to trace the emergence of something like the modern literary industry. This is the single most vitalizing and illuminating element in Clery's work, and permits her a perspective on her materials of which all later students will have to take account ... She is entirely expert and au fait in her handling of both the historical and cultural, and the literary aspects of her study. Her writing is informed by theory but remains clean and lucid, and she has a talent for aphorism which she uses to great effect ... To add to its many other charms, The Rise of Supernatural Fiction, 1762-1800 has fascinating and extensive notes and an excellent bibliography. Altogether, Clery's book is a landmark'. Romanticism

List of illustrations
Techniques of Ghost-Seeing
The case of the Cock Lane ghost
Producing enthusiastic terror
The Business of Romance
The advantages of history
Back to the future
The value of the supernatural in a commercial society
The Strange Luxury of Artificial Terror
Women, luxury and the sublime
The supernatural explained
Like a heroine
Magico-Political Tales
The terrorist system
Conspiracy, subversion, supernaturalism
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521664585
ISBN-10: 0521664586
Series: Cambridge Studies in Romanticism (Paperback)
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 15th November 1999
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.34 x 17.35  x 3.66
Weight (kg): 0.39