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Literary Precedents for The Inheritance

This Study Guide consists of approximately 13 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Inheritance.
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The Inheritance has obvious ties to the sentimental tradition traceable to Jane Austen in England. An outstanding example of Austen's work is Pride and Prejudice (1813), which embodies the manners and sisterly relationships Alcott endeavored to portray in her work. The Gothic tradition is evident in Alcott's elements of intrigue, such as Lady Ida's machinations, the secret legacy, the mysterious old man, Edith's exotic Italian birth and the home that is an "old, decaying castle." Devices like these have ties to Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764), and Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1796).

Alcott read widely, and she especially liked Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens. Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847; see separate entry) includes tableaux vivants such as those in The Inheritance. Alcott's portrayals of the poor, like the servant Theresa, owe much to such Dickens novels as Oliver Twist (1838- 1841). Alcott loved the theater and Shakespeare...

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This section contains 217 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Inheritance Short Guide
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