Gothic, Monk, Matthew Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, Italian, English Literature
The purpose of this thesis is to determine how guilt and shame act as engines of social control in two Gothic narratives of the 1790s, how they tie into the terror and horror modes of the genre, and how they give rise to two distinct narrative models, one centered on punishment and the other on rehabilitation. The premise of the paper is that both Matthew G. Lewis's The Monk and Ann Radcliffe's The Italian harness radically different emotional responses, one that demands the punishment of the aberrant individual and the other that reveres the reformative power of domestic felicity. The purposes of both responses are to civilize readers and their respective representations of the Holy Office of the Inquisition are central to this process. I examine the role of the Inquisition in The Monk and contrast it with the depiction of the same institution in The Italian. Lewis's book subordinates the ecclesiastical world to the authority of the aristocracy and uses graphic scenes of torture to support conservative forms of social control based on shame. The Italian, on the other hand, depicted the Inquisition as a conspiratorial body that causes Radcliffe's protagonists, and by extension her readers, to question their complicity in oppressive systems of social control and look for alternative means to punishment. The result is a push toward rehabilitation that is socially progressive but questions the English Enlightenment's promotion of the carceral.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Fennell, Jarad, "Representations Of The Catholic Inquisition In Two Eighteenth-century Gothic Novels: Punishment And Rehabilitation In Matthew Lewis' The Monk and Ann Radcliffe's The Italian" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3156.