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To Trim a Torch: Modeling Pause in British Woman's Gothic Fiction

Bare, Malcolm
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Bare, Malcolm
Booth, Alison
This thesis employs a variety of digital and formal methodologies to study the evolution of the gothic sentence from Ann Radcliffe throughout the long nineteenth century. I used contemporary stylometric techniques to determine that The Mysteries of Udolpho was the stylistic model that defined the weight and construction of the gothic sentence, at least until a series of short cuts taken by its anonymous imitators altered and cemented the sentence’s pace. One of these imitators, Lusignan, was approached in more detail in an attempt to settle the debate of whether it could have been composed by Radcliffe. I used a mixture of distant reading techniques and algorithm-assisted formalism to cull representative non-action sentences from both novels, analyzing their construction and ability to produce moments of pause for the reader. With this formula established, I moved into the early Victorian period and performed close readings on Elizabeth Gaskell’s “The Old Nurse’s Story” and Elizabeth Barret Browning’s Aurora Leigh, looking at how the two texts modified and politicized the ordinary gothic sentence.
University of Virginia, Department of English, MA (Master of Arts), 2016
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MA (Master of Arts)
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