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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Romance, the dominant long-form fiction since 200 CE, is in eclipse for half a century after the rise of the realistic novel, but has a new efflorescence around 1790 in the Gothic novel for a number of reasons. It was a mode of historical writing without any need for accuracy about dates and places, a mode of sentimental writing that found in its villainous anti-heroes an entry point to the sadomasochistic desires of its readers. The chief characteristic of the heroine or hero is passivity, an attitude mirrored in the implied female reader of the Gothic, who seeks escape or retreat into an inner world of fantasy. It is ironic that the Gothic was displaced by 1820 by the historical romance of Scott, who adopted its plots and themes, but set them in a colder verisimilar world.

Keywords: romance, history, sentimental, sensibility, aesthesis, gender, fantasy, sadomasochism, heroine, anti-hero

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