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By Patrick R. O'Malley

It has lengthy been known that the Gothic style sensationalised ideals and practices linked to Catholicism. frequently, the rhetorical tropes and narrative constructions of the Gothic, with its lurid and supernatural plots, have been used to argue that either Catholicism and sexual distinction have been essentially alien and perilous to British Protestant tradition. finally, although, the Gothic additionally supplied an inventive area within which unconventional writers from John Henry Newman to Oscar Wilde may articulate an alternate imaginative and prescient of British tradition. Patrick O'Malley charts those advancements from the origins of the Gothic novel within the mid-eighteenth century, throughout the mid-nineteenth-century sensation novel, towards the top of the Victorian Gothic in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Thomas Hardy's Jude the imprecise. O'Malley foregrounds the continued value of Victorian Gothic as a style in which British authors outlined their tradition and what used to be outdoor it.

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81) Just as homoerotics appears to be normalized into heteroerotics by Rosario’s revelation that he is a woman, so is the supernatural force of an image of the Virgin rejected for a perfectly reasonable, if religiously suspect, explanation. Yet, as in the case of Matilda’s sex, this rationalist containment of religious deviance turns out not to be the final word. For at the same moment that Lucifer announces to Ambrosio that Matilda is neither monk nor maid, he reveals that, in fact, she was lying.

I never knew a father’s care . . nor till lately did I perceive the want of it. ’–” (235–36). Ellena’s last statement is puzzling: why “now” does she suddenly perceive the lack of a (biological) father’s affection – and protection – unless it is because she is threatened by an (ecclesiastical) father? The two significations of “fatherhood” have seemingly become impossible to distinguish from each other. And, indeed, within a page, Schedoni announces that he is in truth Ellena’s biological parent in addition to being an ecclesiastic official: “Unhappy child!

5 The influence of these traditional Gothic novels – with all their anachronisms and displacements – stretches into the later nineteenth century, providing a set of rhetorics that would allow the Victorians to reconstruct a new Gothic more directly rooted in contemporary social and ideological anxieties. “AN E X T I N C T S C H O O L O F F I C T I O N ”: C A T H O L I C I S M , S E X U A L I T Y A N D THE GOTHIC OF THE 1790 S The Mysteries of Udolpho puts into circulation a connection between, on the one hand, sexual and religious deviance and, on the other, a rhetoric of southern continental depravity that, by an implied contrast, suggests the purity of British Protestantism.

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