Feminism In Gothic Literature

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Yet, Radcliffe’s precocity to feminise the genre is not limited to her treatment and coverage of women’s sufferings and fears. Susan Becker further explained that her “earl[iest] twists in the feminisation of the Gothic, namely [is] in the reduction of the villain, otherwise subject of the action, to a mere function in the female subject’s transcendence of ‘her proper sphere’: the home” (“Postmodern Feminine Horror” 79-80). Striving to liberate them, Radcliffe’s narratives took the shape of suspenseful mysterious narrative of Romantic journey in which the ‘travelling’ heroine-centered narrative “who moves, who acts, who copes with vicissitude,” escaped, even temporarily, from the patriarchal confining house (qtd. in Hanson 37).
Radcliffe writings opened floodgates for her female successors to write within that tradition. David Stevens in The Gothic Tradition writes that “[s]everal of the writers associated with the development of the gothic novel were women […] and the very existence of the gothic novel may be seen as dependent on female readers and authors” (23). The “feminization of reading [and writing] practices” of gothic literature contributed
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to the rise of an idiosyncratically full-fledged tradition with a distinctly feminist drives, initiated by Radcliffe and consolidated by many later women novelists who contributed to “bifurcation of the Radcliffe tradition” and consequently to the establishment of what Ellen Moers
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