Jane Austen’s Ghoulish sisters

Charliedrac Hi, here's Jo, just back from a few days up north of here — Holy Island/Lindisfarne, Bamburgh Castle, and the Farne Islands (seals and birds, including puffins.) That on top of a month away in North America, plus Delta losing my luggage again (they lost it on the way out, too) leaves me without the energy to blog about that now.

Here's a picture of Bamburgh, however. The original castle goes back to, I think, the 8th century but the present stucture was heavily restored in the 18th century anH2332w Bamburgh Castled then again in the early 20th, but it's nice to see a castle in good shape for a change.

 

So I've picked a post from Minepast from 2005. Minepast is my blog of odd historical stuff. I only post there when I come across something, usually when researching. This piece does indicate that the current fashion for Jane Austen and zombies, vampires, and other monsters wouldn't have surprised her much. Do you like the calm, pastoral vision of the early 18th century, or would you prefer the darker, more tumultuous one? Which do you think was real? If such a question has meaning.

Here we go with the original article, which I haven't been able to resist fiddling with..

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I admire Jane Austen and her works, but she does create in the modern mind an image of an early 19th century England full of sense and decorum. This even with sensibility contrasted with sense and Lydia in Pride and Prejudice to demonstrate how wild young ladies could be, not to mention the outrageous behaviour of many real people of the time.

Of course, in Northanger Abbey she spoofed the "horrid" novels of her time, but that proves she read the novels, and we shouldn't forget just how popular they were, and the height of their popularity was the early 19th century. 

In 1796 Matthew Lewis produced The Monk, which perhaps started the craze, though there were other such books at about the same time. Possibly the French Revolution stirred the imagination in a dark direction, which does make one wonder about the recent popularity of dark fantasy. Echoes of 9/11 and years of war, perhaps. Though I haven't studied the subject, the popularity doesn't seem to have strongly spread beyond North America. Twoemilysxl

1798 we have The Two Emilys. An innocuous enough title, but…. "In The Two Emilys, masquerade, an earthquake, bigamy, insanity, blackmail, and duels serve the demonic Emily Fitzallen in her drive for revenge on her counterpart and the novel's heroine. Emily Arden, and the man over whom they do battle, the Marquis of Lenox. Will the good Emily or the evil one prevail? Featuring a wild, improbable plot and action that ranges from Ireland and Scotland to Switzerland and Italy, The Two Emilys remains an unpredictable and thrilling Gothic tale." 

That description and cover is from Valancourt Books, which reissues many of these yummy titles. That's their cover.

Yes, people of all kinds were eagerly gobbling up gothic novels. Foreign settings perhaps made the extreme believable. Even today, readers seem to prefer their dark dominant heroes from Greece and Sicily rather than from Chelsea or Birmingham.

Cavernofdeathxl Thus we have Koenigsmark the Robber; or, the Terror ofBohemia: In Which Is Included, the Affecting History of Rosenberg and Adelaide. Also The Cavern of Horrors; or, Miseries of Miranda: A Neapolitan Tale, and The Cavern of Death, which apparently was a real bestseller but is mostly a male adventure novel.

Included in foreign was Catholicism with monks, nuns, and convents, always fertile ground for the Protestant imagination. The Bleeding Nun of the Castle of Lindenberg. The Convent of St. Michael or the Unfortunate Emilia. Father Innocent, Abbot of the Capuchins; or the Crimes of Cloisters. The Midnight Assassin: Or, Confession of the Monk Rinaldi; Containing a Complete History of His Diabolical Machinations and Unparalleled Ferocity

Ecnotext (I rather like the alternate title system. Perhaps we could start using it again. Let's see….The Secret Duke, or Bella and the Wicked Captain. An Unlikely Countess, or The Perils of Prudence. Here's a sneak peek at the cover, even before the text is added. It's lovely, isn't it? The book will be out next March.)

Then there are the novels about sex. Yes, Dear Reader, the Regency miss did have a bit of a clue about sex, though perhaps a hair-raising one if these were her only source. Conscience; or, the Bridal Night: A Tragedy, in Five Acts. (The curious mind wonders which five acts…..*G*)The Southern Tower; or, Conjugal Sacrifice and Retribution

The editor of Valancourt Books seems to favor the male adventure over the female, but this one seems promising. The Mysterious Hand; or, Subterranean Horrours! "

Mysterioushandcoverxl "The Mysterious Hand; or, Subterranean Horrours! (1811) is the story of two young lovers, Theodore Dalbert and Julia Bolton, and their attempts to escape the machinations of the diabolical Count Egfryd. Egfryd, one of the most remarkable villains in Gothic literature, is a gifted athlete, poet, and inventor, brilliant, handsome, charming – and ruthless. Angered at Theodore's negative review of the his book of poems and enamoured of Julia, Egfryd will stop at nothing to destroy his rival and possess the lovely maiden.

Egfryd's wild and improbable schemes include framing Theodore for murder, attempting to rape Julia in a hot air balloon, and finally imprisoning them both on a remote island rigged with gunpowder to blow them both to bits should they attempt to escape. Can the two lovers avoid the snares of the wily Count or will they fall victim to his inveterate malice?"

The main publisher of the female gothics was the Minerva Press, which I featured in my first published book, Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed.My novella, Forbidden Affections, which has been in a couple of collections, is all about Gothic novels. Valancourt Books has published some new editionsof Minerva press books..

If you're hooked, the Valancourt edition is easily available.

Have you read any early 19th century gothics? What did you think of them?

Cheers,

Jo

55 thoughts on “Jane Austen’s Ghoulish sisters”

  1. I don’t particularly like modern gothics because most of them have too much blood an gore. These older ones, like the older horror movies, aren’t quite so explicit that way. I also like swashbucklers, so these stories sound like they’re right up my alley.
    The Book Depository has some of these books as free ebooks. Here’s the link for The Monk
    http://www.bookdepository.com/dealsAndOffers/promo/id/100?searchRefined=true&searchSortBy=bestsellers&promo=100&page=1&searchTerm=&searchAddedTerm=matthew+lewis&submit=Go

    Reply
  2. I don’t particularly like modern gothics because most of them have too much blood an gore. These older ones, like the older horror movies, aren’t quite so explicit that way. I also like swashbucklers, so these stories sound like they’re right up my alley.
    The Book Depository has some of these books as free ebooks. Here’s the link for The Monk
    http://www.bookdepository.com/dealsAndOffers/promo/id/100?searchRefined=true&searchSortBy=bestsellers&promo=100&page=1&searchTerm=&searchAddedTerm=matthew+lewis&submit=Go

    Reply
  3. I don’t particularly like modern gothics because most of them have too much blood an gore. These older ones, like the older horror movies, aren’t quite so explicit that way. I also like swashbucklers, so these stories sound like they’re right up my alley.
    The Book Depository has some of these books as free ebooks. Here’s the link for The Monk
    http://www.bookdepository.com/dealsAndOffers/promo/id/100?searchRefined=true&searchSortBy=bestsellers&promo=100&page=1&searchTerm=&searchAddedTerm=matthew+lewis&submit=Go

    Reply
  4. I don’t particularly like modern gothics because most of them have too much blood an gore. These older ones, like the older horror movies, aren’t quite so explicit that way. I also like swashbucklers, so these stories sound like they’re right up my alley.
    The Book Depository has some of these books as free ebooks. Here’s the link for The Monk
    http://www.bookdepository.com/dealsAndOffers/promo/id/100?searchRefined=true&searchSortBy=bestsellers&promo=100&page=1&searchTerm=&searchAddedTerm=matthew+lewis&submit=Go

    Reply
  5. I don’t particularly like modern gothics because most of them have too much blood an gore. These older ones, like the older horror movies, aren’t quite so explicit that way. I also like swashbucklers, so these stories sound like they’re right up my alley.
    The Book Depository has some of these books as free ebooks. Here’s the link for The Monk
    http://www.bookdepository.com/dealsAndOffers/promo/id/100?searchRefined=true&searchSortBy=bestsellers&promo=100&page=1&searchTerm=&searchAddedTerm=matthew+lewis&submit=Go

    Reply
  6. An interesting parallel between the French Revolution and the Gothic craze, and now 9/11 and all the dark fantasy. Turning fears into fiction may be a good coping technique.
    As for Egfryd and his extreme reaction to a negative review–well, what author can’t have at least a little sympathy? *g*
    FABULOUS new cover art for your next book. We Wenches have had a run of beautiful covers lately.

    Reply
  7. An interesting parallel between the French Revolution and the Gothic craze, and now 9/11 and all the dark fantasy. Turning fears into fiction may be a good coping technique.
    As for Egfryd and his extreme reaction to a negative review–well, what author can’t have at least a little sympathy? *g*
    FABULOUS new cover art for your next book. We Wenches have had a run of beautiful covers lately.

    Reply
  8. An interesting parallel between the French Revolution and the Gothic craze, and now 9/11 and all the dark fantasy. Turning fears into fiction may be a good coping technique.
    As for Egfryd and his extreme reaction to a negative review–well, what author can’t have at least a little sympathy? *g*
    FABULOUS new cover art for your next book. We Wenches have had a run of beautiful covers lately.

    Reply
  9. An interesting parallel between the French Revolution and the Gothic craze, and now 9/11 and all the dark fantasy. Turning fears into fiction may be a good coping technique.
    As for Egfryd and his extreme reaction to a negative review–well, what author can’t have at least a little sympathy? *g*
    FABULOUS new cover art for your next book. We Wenches have had a run of beautiful covers lately.

    Reply
  10. An interesting parallel between the French Revolution and the Gothic craze, and now 9/11 and all the dark fantasy. Turning fears into fiction may be a good coping technique.
    As for Egfryd and his extreme reaction to a negative review–well, what author can’t have at least a little sympathy? *g*
    FABULOUS new cover art for your next book. We Wenches have had a run of beautiful covers lately.

    Reply
  11. I once tried “The Castle of Otranto” for about five minutes but soon gave it up. That Victorian writing is just too dense, even for this English major. 🙂 I may have to give some of these a try, though – they certainly sound fascinating!
    Your alternative titles are good – I like the Perils of Prudence-, but not nearly long or impressive enough. You need something like “A Lady’s Secret; or the Mystery of the Nun’s Curse; or How Lord Fitzvitry’s Rakish Plan went Awry.” *g*

    Reply
  12. I once tried “The Castle of Otranto” for about five minutes but soon gave it up. That Victorian writing is just too dense, even for this English major. 🙂 I may have to give some of these a try, though – they certainly sound fascinating!
    Your alternative titles are good – I like the Perils of Prudence-, but not nearly long or impressive enough. You need something like “A Lady’s Secret; or the Mystery of the Nun’s Curse; or How Lord Fitzvitry’s Rakish Plan went Awry.” *g*

    Reply
  13. I once tried “The Castle of Otranto” for about five minutes but soon gave it up. That Victorian writing is just too dense, even for this English major. 🙂 I may have to give some of these a try, though – they certainly sound fascinating!
    Your alternative titles are good – I like the Perils of Prudence-, but not nearly long or impressive enough. You need something like “A Lady’s Secret; or the Mystery of the Nun’s Curse; or How Lord Fitzvitry’s Rakish Plan went Awry.” *g*

    Reply
  14. I once tried “The Castle of Otranto” for about five minutes but soon gave it up. That Victorian writing is just too dense, even for this English major. 🙂 I may have to give some of these a try, though – they certainly sound fascinating!
    Your alternative titles are good – I like the Perils of Prudence-, but not nearly long or impressive enough. You need something like “A Lady’s Secret; or the Mystery of the Nun’s Curse; or How Lord Fitzvitry’s Rakish Plan went Awry.” *g*

    Reply
  15. I once tried “The Castle of Otranto” for about five minutes but soon gave it up. That Victorian writing is just too dense, even for this English major. 🙂 I may have to give some of these a try, though – they certainly sound fascinating!
    Your alternative titles are good – I like the Perils of Prudence-, but not nearly long or impressive enough. You need something like “A Lady’s Secret; or the Mystery of the Nun’s Curse; or How Lord Fitzvitry’s Rakish Plan went Awry.” *g*

    Reply
  16. I always get a kick out of the heroine in the Gothics having their imaginations running wild. I am glad we have come a fair distance in the styles of writing. The dark stories aren’t nearly as interesting nor are the book covers as lovely. Give me a book written by a “Word Wench” anytime.

    Reply
  17. I always get a kick out of the heroine in the Gothics having their imaginations running wild. I am glad we have come a fair distance in the styles of writing. The dark stories aren’t nearly as interesting nor are the book covers as lovely. Give me a book written by a “Word Wench” anytime.

    Reply
  18. I always get a kick out of the heroine in the Gothics having their imaginations running wild. I am glad we have come a fair distance in the styles of writing. The dark stories aren’t nearly as interesting nor are the book covers as lovely. Give me a book written by a “Word Wench” anytime.

    Reply
  19. I always get a kick out of the heroine in the Gothics having their imaginations running wild. I am glad we have come a fair distance in the styles of writing. The dark stories aren’t nearly as interesting nor are the book covers as lovely. Give me a book written by a “Word Wench” anytime.

    Reply
  20. I always get a kick out of the heroine in the Gothics having their imaginations running wild. I am glad we have come a fair distance in the styles of writing. The dark stories aren’t nearly as interesting nor are the book covers as lovely. Give me a book written by a “Word Wench” anytime.

    Reply
  21. Fascinating stuff, Jo. I went to a talk on the Gothic novel by Prof William Hughes recently and it was excellent. I’m not a reader of gothics but I was intrigued to hear about the way in which the movement arose and fitted into the cultural and political background of the time. He described it as a reaction against the rationalism and orderliness of Enlightenment thinking, and suggested that one of the reasons we enjoy the gothic today is because so much is explained by science but actually we want there to be things that are unexplained. Actually he might make an interesting WW guest!

    Reply
  22. Fascinating stuff, Jo. I went to a talk on the Gothic novel by Prof William Hughes recently and it was excellent. I’m not a reader of gothics but I was intrigued to hear about the way in which the movement arose and fitted into the cultural and political background of the time. He described it as a reaction against the rationalism and orderliness of Enlightenment thinking, and suggested that one of the reasons we enjoy the gothic today is because so much is explained by science but actually we want there to be things that are unexplained. Actually he might make an interesting WW guest!

    Reply
  23. Fascinating stuff, Jo. I went to a talk on the Gothic novel by Prof William Hughes recently and it was excellent. I’m not a reader of gothics but I was intrigued to hear about the way in which the movement arose and fitted into the cultural and political background of the time. He described it as a reaction against the rationalism and orderliness of Enlightenment thinking, and suggested that one of the reasons we enjoy the gothic today is because so much is explained by science but actually we want there to be things that are unexplained. Actually he might make an interesting WW guest!

    Reply
  24. Fascinating stuff, Jo. I went to a talk on the Gothic novel by Prof William Hughes recently and it was excellent. I’m not a reader of gothics but I was intrigued to hear about the way in which the movement arose and fitted into the cultural and political background of the time. He described it as a reaction against the rationalism and orderliness of Enlightenment thinking, and suggested that one of the reasons we enjoy the gothic today is because so much is explained by science but actually we want there to be things that are unexplained. Actually he might make an interesting WW guest!

    Reply
  25. Fascinating stuff, Jo. I went to a talk on the Gothic novel by Prof William Hughes recently and it was excellent. I’m not a reader of gothics but I was intrigued to hear about the way in which the movement arose and fitted into the cultural and political background of the time. He described it as a reaction against the rationalism and orderliness of Enlightenment thinking, and suggested that one of the reasons we enjoy the gothic today is because so much is explained by science but actually we want there to be things that are unexplained. Actually he might make an interesting WW guest!

    Reply
  26. I love Bamburgh and the surrounding area. I was fortunate enough to visit there while I was studying for my MA at the University of Leeds.
    Prior to visiting Bamburgh, I had done some geneology research into my family, and knew that they came from the border region between England and Scotland, but imagine my surprise when I found out (while standing in the gallery at the castle), that the family was the “Armstrong-Watson” family. The latter is my last name. It was a neat experience!

    Reply
  27. I love Bamburgh and the surrounding area. I was fortunate enough to visit there while I was studying for my MA at the University of Leeds.
    Prior to visiting Bamburgh, I had done some geneology research into my family, and knew that they came from the border region between England and Scotland, but imagine my surprise when I found out (while standing in the gallery at the castle), that the family was the “Armstrong-Watson” family. The latter is my last name. It was a neat experience!

    Reply
  28. I love Bamburgh and the surrounding area. I was fortunate enough to visit there while I was studying for my MA at the University of Leeds.
    Prior to visiting Bamburgh, I had done some geneology research into my family, and knew that they came from the border region between England and Scotland, but imagine my surprise when I found out (while standing in the gallery at the castle), that the family was the “Armstrong-Watson” family. The latter is my last name. It was a neat experience!

    Reply
  29. I love Bamburgh and the surrounding area. I was fortunate enough to visit there while I was studying for my MA at the University of Leeds.
    Prior to visiting Bamburgh, I had done some geneology research into my family, and knew that they came from the border region between England and Scotland, but imagine my surprise when I found out (while standing in the gallery at the castle), that the family was the “Armstrong-Watson” family. The latter is my last name. It was a neat experience!

    Reply
  30. I love Bamburgh and the surrounding area. I was fortunate enough to visit there while I was studying for my MA at the University of Leeds.
    Prior to visiting Bamburgh, I had done some geneology research into my family, and knew that they came from the border region between England and Scotland, but imagine my surprise when I found out (while standing in the gallery at the castle), that the family was the “Armstrong-Watson” family. The latter is my last name. It was a neat experience!

    Reply
  31. Visited Bamburgh and Lindisfarne in the summer of 2002. We stayed down in the large house in the village. Bamburgh has such a broody atmosphere…
    Sorry to read about Delta twice losing your luggage. Especially coming here, at the start of your long business trip must’ve been particularly trying. Cross that airline off your future list.

    Reply
  32. Visited Bamburgh and Lindisfarne in the summer of 2002. We stayed down in the large house in the village. Bamburgh has such a broody atmosphere…
    Sorry to read about Delta twice losing your luggage. Especially coming here, at the start of your long business trip must’ve been particularly trying. Cross that airline off your future list.

    Reply
  33. Visited Bamburgh and Lindisfarne in the summer of 2002. We stayed down in the large house in the village. Bamburgh has such a broody atmosphere…
    Sorry to read about Delta twice losing your luggage. Especially coming here, at the start of your long business trip must’ve been particularly trying. Cross that airline off your future list.

    Reply
  34. Visited Bamburgh and Lindisfarne in the summer of 2002. We stayed down in the large house in the village. Bamburgh has such a broody atmosphere…
    Sorry to read about Delta twice losing your luggage. Especially coming here, at the start of your long business trip must’ve been particularly trying. Cross that airline off your future list.

    Reply
  35. Visited Bamburgh and Lindisfarne in the summer of 2002. We stayed down in the large house in the village. Bamburgh has such a broody atmosphere…
    Sorry to read about Delta twice losing your luggage. Especially coming here, at the start of your long business trip must’ve been particularly trying. Cross that airline off your future list.

    Reply
  36. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’ve been having a few technical problems.
    Interesting that so many have been to Banburgh. It is spectacular, in part because it was reconstructed.
    Nichola, great idea about Prof. Hughes. I, too, find most gothic novels of the early 19th century pretty hard reading, but they are an important background to the psyche of the time.
    Another angle could be that young women of the time were feeling the constraints of the post-revolutionary period, and even the slow creep toward Victorian repression and were rebelling, in their imaginations, at least.
    Linda, thanks for the link to the Book Depository.
    Jo

    Reply
  37. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’ve been having a few technical problems.
    Interesting that so many have been to Banburgh. It is spectacular, in part because it was reconstructed.
    Nichola, great idea about Prof. Hughes. I, too, find most gothic novels of the early 19th century pretty hard reading, but they are an important background to the psyche of the time.
    Another angle could be that young women of the time were feeling the constraints of the post-revolutionary period, and even the slow creep toward Victorian repression and were rebelling, in their imaginations, at least.
    Linda, thanks for the link to the Book Depository.
    Jo

    Reply
  38. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’ve been having a few technical problems.
    Interesting that so many have been to Banburgh. It is spectacular, in part because it was reconstructed.
    Nichola, great idea about Prof. Hughes. I, too, find most gothic novels of the early 19th century pretty hard reading, but they are an important background to the psyche of the time.
    Another angle could be that young women of the time were feeling the constraints of the post-revolutionary period, and even the slow creep toward Victorian repression and were rebelling, in their imaginations, at least.
    Linda, thanks for the link to the Book Depository.
    Jo

    Reply
  39. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’ve been having a few technical problems.
    Interesting that so many have been to Banburgh. It is spectacular, in part because it was reconstructed.
    Nichola, great idea about Prof. Hughes. I, too, find most gothic novels of the early 19th century pretty hard reading, but they are an important background to the psyche of the time.
    Another angle could be that young women of the time were feeling the constraints of the post-revolutionary period, and even the slow creep toward Victorian repression and were rebelling, in their imaginations, at least.
    Linda, thanks for the link to the Book Depository.
    Jo

    Reply
  40. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’ve been having a few technical problems.
    Interesting that so many have been to Banburgh. It is spectacular, in part because it was reconstructed.
    Nichola, great idea about Prof. Hughes. I, too, find most gothic novels of the early 19th century pretty hard reading, but they are an important background to the psyche of the time.
    Another angle could be that young women of the time were feeling the constraints of the post-revolutionary period, and even the slow creep toward Victorian repression and were rebelling, in their imaginations, at least.
    Linda, thanks for the link to the Book Depository.
    Jo

    Reply
  41. I haven’t read many gothics, of any century. I like your possible interpretation of the early 19th century gothics, Jo.
    And I love the proposed artwork for your new book cover, Jo. In addition to beautiful artwork, the heroine looks like she has spunk!

    Reply
  42. I haven’t read many gothics, of any century. I like your possible interpretation of the early 19th century gothics, Jo.
    And I love the proposed artwork for your new book cover, Jo. In addition to beautiful artwork, the heroine looks like she has spunk!

    Reply
  43. I haven’t read many gothics, of any century. I like your possible interpretation of the early 19th century gothics, Jo.
    And I love the proposed artwork for your new book cover, Jo. In addition to beautiful artwork, the heroine looks like she has spunk!

    Reply
  44. I haven’t read many gothics, of any century. I like your possible interpretation of the early 19th century gothics, Jo.
    And I love the proposed artwork for your new book cover, Jo. In addition to beautiful artwork, the heroine looks like she has spunk!

    Reply
  45. I haven’t read many gothics, of any century. I like your possible interpretation of the early 19th century gothics, Jo.
    And I love the proposed artwork for your new book cover, Jo. In addition to beautiful artwork, the heroine looks like she has spunk!

    Reply

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