The Horrors of Oakendale Abbey

The Horrors of Oakendale Abbey

"The Horrors of Oakendale Abbey" is a gothic novel by Mrs Carver, written in 1797 [] and published, in one volume, by the sensationalist Minerva Press. It proved particularly popular with the new travelling libraries of the day. A gothic tale of horror, rather than suspense, it centres on the physical and grotesque, rather than metaphysical terror. A US edition, printed in New York by John Harrisson, was published in 1799.

It tells the story of Laura, a foundling refugee from revolutionary France, her attempted seduction at the hands of Lord Oakendale and her explorations of the haunted Cumberland abbey of the title which lead her to stumble upon a den of resurrection men and body snatchers. Unusually graphic in its depiction of death and decay, even by the standards of the day, in terms of its descriptions of the gruesome, it has recently been republished by Zittaw Press [] . The book owes something to Eliza Parsons' The Castle of Wolfenbach although it dispenses with the emotional subtleties of that work.


*Crime Fiction II: A Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749-1990 A Completely Revised and Updated Edition (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities) by Allen J. Hubin (page 134).

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