The Mysteries of Udolpho | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 15 pages of analysis & critique of The Mysteries of Udolpho.
This section contains 4,051 words
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SOURCE: “Bathos and Repetition: The Uncanny in Radcliffe,” in The Journal of Narrative Technique, Vol. 19, No. 2, Spring, 1989, pp. 197-204.

In the following essay, Macdonald studies Radcliffe's use of repetition and her protagonist's reactions to fantastical occurrences as evidence that the author overly-explains and rationalizes supernatural episodes.

The defining characteristic of the fantastic as a literary genre, according to Tzvetan Todorov, is the hesitation or uncertainty it produces in the reader (and sometimes in the characters) as to the fictional reality of supernatural phenomena. The genre thus defined is extremely small: usually the supernatural events are either explained away, so that the fantastic becomes merely uncanny, or verified, so that it becomes marvelous (Todorov 25).

Richard Howard translates Todorov's étrange as uncanny because Todorov himself invokes Freud's conception of the unheimlich, though he notes that “there is not an entire coincidence between Freud's use of the term and [his] own...

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This section contains 4,051 words
(approx. 14 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by D. L. Macdonald
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Critical Essay by D. L. Macdonald from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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