- The Castle of Wolfenbach
"The Castle of Wolfenbach" (1793) is the most famous novel [cite web | title=Castle of Wolfenbach at "Gutenburg" | last= | first= | work=Gutenberg.net | url=http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0606211.txt | date= | accessdate=2007-12-12 ] [cite web | title=Castle of Wolfenbach content | last= | first= | work=Gothic Library | url=http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Arc/6773/the-castle-of-wolfenbach-contents.html | date= | accessdate=2007-12-12 ] written by the English
Gothic novelist Eliza Parsons. First published in two volumes during 1793, it was one of the seven "horrid novels" recommended by the character Isabella Thorpe in Jane Austen's novel " Northanger Abbey" and was an important early work in the genre, predating both Ann Radcliffe's " The Mysteries of Udolpho" and Monk Lewis's " The Monk".
:"“Dear creature! How much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished Udolpho, we will read the Italian together; and I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.”":"“Have you, indeed! How glad I am! What are they all?”":"“I will read you their names directly; here they are, in my pocketbook.
Castle of Wolfenbach, Clermont, Mysterious Warnings, Necromancer of the Black Forest, Midnight Bell, Orphan of the Rhineand Horrid Mysteries. Those will last us some time.”":"“Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?”" – Northanger Abbey, ch. 6
It helped establish the gothic tropes of the blameless young woman in peril, the centrality of a huge, gloomy, ancient building to the plot, the discovery of scandalous family secrets and a final confrontation between the forces of good and evil. Its resolutely anti-French Roman Catholic, pro-English Protestant sentiment is also a feature of the genre.
The novel details the adventures of Matilda Weimar, who escapes the clutches of her lecherous uncle to find sanctuary in the imposing German
castleof the title. Exploring its eerie chambers she discovers a terrible secret regarding the disappearance of the Countess of the estate and must finally fight off the attentions of her incestuous uncle when he finally tracks her down. She must also contend with the betrayal she suffers at the hands of Mademoiselle de Fontelle and a young widow, Mrs. Courtney, who conspire to part her from her paramour, Count de Bouville, brother of her friend Adelaide.
Professor Frederick S. Frank notes that the noted gothic and feminist scholar "Diane Long Hoeveler [cite web | title=Gothic/Romantic Conversations course | last=Hoeveler | first=Diane Long | work=marquette.edu | url=http://www.marquette.edu/english/faculty/GOTHIC.SYLLABI_000.htm | date= | accessdate=2007-12-12 ] opens new perspectives on Parsons's achievement in the field of what might be called “international” Gothic in her creation of an “ideologically bifurcated female Gothic, part liberal and part conservative” in its political outlook" in her introduction to a modern edition published in 2006 by Valancourt Books [cite web | title=The Castle of Wolfenbach reissue | last= | first= | work=Valancourt Books | url=http://www.valancourtbooks.com/thecastleofwolfenbach.html | date= | accessdate=2007-12-12 ] .
*cite book | title=Gothic Readings - The First Wave 1764—1840 | editor=Rictor Norton (ed.)| last= | first= | authorlink= | publisher=Leicester University Press | location=London and New York | edition= | url=http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/gothic.htm | date=11 May 2000 | id=ISBN 978-0718502164
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