The Early Gothic Romances of Regina Maria Roche and the Jane Austen Connection by Emma Hodinott
The Gothic Romance was an immensely popular, but critically derided genre that was born out of the turbulent environment of the late eighteenth century, the period of the French revolution and one marked by a restoration of the romantic sensibility in literature. Novelists writing in the closing decades of this century frequently looked back in their fictions to a fantasy age of chivalry and revelled in the romantic possibilities that it afforded them, the use of Gothic scenes providing them with a further outlet for such effusions of fancy that the genre was famous for. The two styles were a perfect complement to each other and created a unique literature. Certainly, the effect on readers of reading such novels was striking. Henry Tilney in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey remarks of his reading of Ann Radcliffe’s archetypal Gothic Romance, The Mysteries of Udolpho, that he ‘remember(s) finishing it in two days – (his) hair standing on end the whole time’ (p95).
Regina Maria Roche, like Ann Radcliffe, was one of this period's most popular writers of these Gothic Romances and although snubbed by the literary critics of the age, was noticed by a true critic of literature and society of the time, Jane Austen. Many modern critics point to two references that Jane Austen makes to Roche's The Children of the Abbey (1796) and Clermont (1798) in Emma and Northanger Abbey respectively, but I would suggest that the relationship goes far deeper than these brief instances of name-dropping. Certainly, much evidence exists to suggest that Jane Austen was a prolific reader of novels and I believe that not only had she read the works of Regina Maria Roche, but was heavily influenced by their characters and plot motifs as well.
Emma, written between eighteen-fourteen and eighteen-fifteen and published in the following year, is perhaps Austen’s most famous novel. Coincidentally, the novel of Roche’s that Harriet Smith talks about in this novel, The Children of the Abbey, was also Roche’s most famous, enjoying an almost unsurpassed degree of popularity in its time. Introduced in Emma as a preferred novel of Harriet Smith’s, The Children of the Abbey is enthusiastically recommended by her. Speaking of Mr. Martin, the object of Harriet’s affections for much of the novel, she relates to Emma that ‘He had never read The Romance of the Forest, nor The Children of the Abbey. He had never heard of such books before I mentioned them, but he is determined to get to know them now as soon as ever he can’ (p25). These novels are generally regarded by critics as Austen’s tacit way of demonstrating the limitations of Harriet’s reading experience and taste, juxtaposed as this light-minded character is with ‘Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable house and happy disposition’ who seems ‘to unite some of the best blessings of existence’ (p3). Certainly, Harriet’s enthusiasm for novels and in particular two that exemplify the emotional excesses of the Gothic Romance genre, would seem to mark her out as a character who is gently being satirised by Austen, a novelist concerned at all times with reserve and delicacy. However, I would argue that Austen’s choice of novels was not a random one and that The Children of the Abbey’s inclusion was significant.
That Roche never intended her novels to be considered as anything more than light entertainment is very likely, given her address to her critics in her debut novel, The Vicar of Lansdowne, ‘To you, Oh ye critics! I address my fervent prayer; and I implore you to disregard this humble TALE. The amusement of a few solitary hours cannot be worthy of your high attention’ (p3-4). No one can know if Austen had read or taken any notice of this appeal, but being such an astute observer of her society and the literary environment within it, she must have been aware of the light-hearted purpose of the profusion of novels published at this time and read predominantly by frequenters of circulating libraries. As such, then, is not Austen paying Roche the deepest compliment, by recognising her position at the pinnacle of her particular art? Certainly, she makes no differentiation here between Roche and Ann Radcliffe, the author of The Romance of the Forest (1791), who is considered today as the master of the Gothic Romance genre.
The fact that Mr. Martin had read Oliver Goldsmith’s celebrated The Vicar of Wakefield is probably intended as an indicator again of the limits of Harriet’s education, because it highlights the fact that until now he has avoided the works of popular, circulating library book novelists. It is certainly a recommendation of Mr. Martin that he has read works by Goldsmith, a writer revered as much for being a novelist as he was for being a playwright and a poet. However, such was the pre-feminist climate of the time that such a situation does not necessarily have to be interpreted as entirely critical of this genre. I am in no doubt that Austen was very much aware of the highly polarised readership of the period. At a time when poetry was considered the highest form of art and novels the lowest, men, in seeking to uphold their belief in their intellectual superiority over women, often professed never to read novels, leaving them entirely for women to devour. Austen’s comment here then, says more about the social climate of the time than it does about the literature, which was after all predominantly a matter of contemporary taste than anything else.
That Austen regarded The Children of the Abbey as an accomplished novel is an argument that is supported by certain striking likenesses between this novel and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813). Written seventeen years after The Children of the Abbey, it shares with this novel a character called Charles Bingley. Not only this, but the actual characterisation is also very similar. As E.R. Noel-Bentley quotes in his article ‘Jane Austen and Regina Maria Roche’, Elsie Duncan-Jones in an article for Notes and Queries, notes how, on many occasions ‘Jane Austen seems to have preferred to take over or adopt proper names rather than to invent (them)’ (p391), in an attempt that Noel-Bentley describes Donald Green as commenting on, ‘to avoid the amateurish nomenclature of her fellow novelists by using a genuine name’ (p391). Although Roche’s Sir Charles Bingley is not strictly a genuine name, it was certainly part of a literary heritage that gave it instant recognition and ensured Austen’s character gained the immediate high regard of her readers, given the honourable and heroic figure of Roche’s Bingley. Because of the enormous popularity of The Children of the Abbey, it seems likely that many of Austen’s readers would have been acquainted with Charles Bingley, an association that recommended his character in a way that Austen herself would not have been able to do. Austen therefore has deliberately adopted the name Charles Bingley to give further depth to her characterisation. Indeed, knowing the character of Roche’s Sir Charles Bingley certainly enriches Austen’s namesake and novel as well.
Described from the outset by Roche as gallant, 'extremely pleasing and entertaining' (p30), Sir Charles is a character that immediately gains the reader's admiration, a feeling that is shared by the characters that surround him in the novel. Even the aloof Lady Euphrasia is mortified to lose his attentions at a ball, despite retaining those of Lord Mortimer, the primary hero of the tale.
Lady Euphrasia had expected Sir Charles and Lord Mortimer would have been competitors for her hand, and was infinitely provoked by the desertion of the former to her lovely cousin; he was a fashionable and animated young man, whom she had often honoured with her notice in England, and wished to enlist in the train of her supported adorers. (Vol. 2, p29)
That Sir Charles resists such a role is very much in his favour. It is his heroic deeds in the last volume of the novel that really mark his character out as a noble and respectable one, though, ensuring the happy ending as they do. Throughout the novel, Amanda has been relentlessly pursued by Colonel Belgrave and is eventually left destitute and despairing on the streets of London through the machinations of this libertine. In a striking example of the happy coincidences of providence in the novel, Sir Charles finds Amanda in this perilous situation, and forsaking his reputation for the safety of this lovely but seemingly ruined character, rescues her. On seeing his friendly features, Amanda feels the security of 'unexpected protection (for protection, she was convinced, she should receive from Sir Charles Bingley)' (Vol. 4, p113-114).
In an attempt to soil the reputation and character of Amanda, Belgrave had written to Sir Charles Bingley in volume two of the novel, to persuade him to give up an attraction that could be so injurious to his honour:
If Sir Charles Bingley has the least regard for his honour or tranquility, he will immediately relinquish his intentions relative to Miss Fitzalan. This caution comes from a sincere friend; from a person whom delicacy; nor want of veracity, urges to this secret mode of giving it. (Vol. 2, p 169)
When confronted by Bingley over this suggestion of impropriety of Amanda’s part, Belgrave went on to claim that ‘Miss Fitzalan and I were once tenderly attached, I trust I am no deliberate libertine; but when a lovely seducing girl was thrown purposely in my way-’ (Vol. 2, p 169). To the credit of Bingley’s character, he is unable to believe anyone capable of fabricating such slander and is eventually persuaded by his acquaintandce; his regard for Amanda overpowered by the Colonel’s relentless campaign of destruction against her.
This trusting and easily influenced character trait is one that Sir Charles shares with Austen’s Charles Bingley, who is persuaded to relinquish the object of his affection by his friend’s powerful rhetoric. Convincing Charles of Jane Bennett’s indifference to him, Darcy later admits to his ‘former interferance in his affairs (as being) absurd and impertinent’ (p329). However absurd though, he acknowledges how his ‘assurance of it … carried immediate conviction to him’, Bingley being ‘most unaffectedly modest’ (p329) and someone whose judgement is entirely reliant on his friend’s.
Although convinced in totally different circumstances for totally different ends, this comparison highlights the similarities between the two characters and does, I think, suggest that Austen borrowed some character motifs from Roche. To include the character of Sir Charles Bingley into her novel, she must have deemed Roche’s characterisation as worthy of imitation and therefore superior to the mass of similar fiction published at the time. Imitation is after all the highest form of flattery, even if Austen did use his name as Donald Green suggests, to elevate her work above that of other novelists, by grounding it in what has essentially become a historical name and therefore a historical fact.
Despite these similarities between the works of Austen and Roche, perhaps the most famous connection between the authors is Austen’s inclusion of Clermont as one of the so-called ‘horrid novels’ in Northanger Abbey.
"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" (said Isabella). "Have you indeed! How glad I am! – What are they all?" (Replied Catherine).
"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 Rhine, and Horrid Mysteries. These will last us some time."
"Yes, pretty well; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?" "Yes, quite sure …" (p37).
Although written as a satire of the improbability and overwrought emotionalism of the Gothic genre, to consider Northanger Abbey as being purely a criticism of such novels as Clermont, is I believe, to misunderstand Jane Austen’s intentions and to underestimate the influence and popularity of these works. Certainly, Isabella’s pocketbook list has all the appearance of being an unimportant, trifling little exercise in recording the names of horrid novels for the delight of a friend who so fondly devours such tales. She has taken so little care over the list as to estimate that there are ‘ten or twelve’ titles in it, when there are really only seven and they are all reduced to being ‘of the same kind as’ Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, but unworthy of the attention that these two novels attract in Northanger Abbey.
However, Jane Austen wields too much authorial control over her characters to allow such a list to be accidental. I would argue therefore that it is intended to be a deliberate and representational model for the genre as a whole. Michael Sadleir in his essay The Northanger Novels, describes how the seven titles given by Isabella represent ‘three or four distinct "make-ups" of the Gothic novel, namely, ‘rhapsodical sensibility romance(s)’, ‘terror-novels that pretend – for fashion's sake – to be translations from the German, but are in fact British-made goods in German fancydress’ and novels that sensationally ‘pretend to be an autobiography’ (p9). Roche, who is described by Sadleir as being ‘an out-and-out sensibility writer, but with a Gothic accent’ (p14), is therefore a writer of the first group, making Clermont a ‘rhapsodical sensibility romance’.
Although all seven 'horrid' novels are likened to Ann Radcliffe by Jane Austen, Clermont, the only ‘rhapsodical sensibility romance’ here, is perhaps the only novel on the list that is actually in the style of Radcliffe, who, like Roche, placed the emphasis of her novels very much on morality and sensibility rather than sheer, shocking sensationalism. The homage that Austen’s characters in Northanger Abbey pay to the works of Radcliffe, having read them extensively and being very much influenced by them, is certainly a strong recommendation of their achievements and by association then, the works of Roche can be considered likewise.
This now brings me on to a more general discussion of Northanger Abbey’s representation of the Gothic Romance genre and how it relates to the early works of Regina Maria Roche. Generally considered to catalogue the Gothic events of a random selection of Radcliffe’s novels, Austen’s novel has many more close similarities to the works of Roche than is generally believed. More significantly than the instance of similarity which exists between Pride and Prejudice and The Children of the Abbey, the works of the two authors share the same elegant style and values as each other. This can clearly be seen in an examination of Northanger Abbey and the way it represents the Gothic Romance genre. Gothic heroines were very often orphaned children, who had never known their mother, a fact satirised by Austen in Northanger Abbey, when she says of Catherine that her mother 'had three sons before Catherine was born; and instead of dying in bringing the latter into the world, as anybody might expect, still lived on' (p13). It was often the case in Gothic fiction, however, that the mother who was assumed dead, was in fact alive and well, imprisoned by her tyrannical husband after he had tired of her. A striking feature of Roche's most famous novels, The Children of the Abbey and Clermont, is that the mothers remain dead. Lady Dunreath in The Children of the Abbey is the only mother figure whose death was faked and is still alive, but she was not an innocent woman, imprisoned by an evil daughter and son-in-law who wished to protect their inheritance by preventing their mother's remarriage. She was herself a source of misery and so she subverts the traditional role of motherhood and can be excluded from the discussion.
The common occurrence of mothers who are not really dead, or whose death is more sinister than assumed, is something that Austen has recognised as characteristic of Gothic novels, and includes in her satire. On news of Henry Tilney's mother's illness and unexpected death, 'Catherine's blood ran cold with the horrid suggestions’ of murder and yet ‘the probability that Mrs Tilney yet lived . . . ' is certainly strong for ‘all favoured the supposition of her imprisonment.’(p163-164). Of course, Catherine has ‘read too much not to be perfectly aware’ (p166) that a dead character should always be assumed alive. A devout reader of terror narratives, she applies all she has learnt from these books to her own life, the outcome being a hilarious critique of the excesses of emotion prevalent in the Gothic Romances.
Another major feature of Gothic novels is the existence of a savage group of banditti who dwell in the threatening forests that surround the countryside of the hero and heroine’s residence. This very real fear of Gothic heroines is not something that Austen really pays attention to. What she is more interested in is the psychological threat rather than the execution of terror. In his ironic account of the events that Catherine is likely to encounter at Northanger Abbey, Henry Tilney dwells on the supernatural threats she may face, which are in fact fears that can only exist in her mind, because I doubt that Austen believed in ghosts. He asks if she is ‘prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as "what one reads about" may produce? – Have you a stout heart? – Nerves fit for sliding panels and tapestry?’ (p138), because of course, she will have ‘reason to suppose that the part of the abbey (she) inhabit(s) is undoubtedly haunted’ (p139).
By excluding certain Gothic features, such as murderous banditti, Austen manages to keep her narrative within the bounds of naturalism. If she had allowed such characters to intrude upon her novel, it would have become just as sensational as the novels she sought to satirise. She is able to create suspense however, through the psychological threat of danger, which finds an effective outlet in fear of the supernatural, which most people, who have read ghost stories, will react to. What is significant here is the fact that there is never actually any danger in the novel and no threat but that which exists in the over-active imagination of Catherine.
Roche also uses a very similar device in her novels. Like Austen, she does not have hoards of banditti committing numerous acts of atrocity in her early novels as Radcliffe and many other Gothic writers do. The only actual bandit we meet in Clermont, for there are certainly none in The Children of the Abbey, is at the Castle de Montmorenci. Madeline, on fleeing from Monsieur D’Alembert believes herself and her travelling companion to be beset by bandits after Lubin announces they ‘have nothing more to fear than being robbed and murdered!’ (p199). They are assured of this suspicion by the sight of ‘half a dozen men . . . as ill looking dogs as ever I beheld’ and ‘the body of a man dreadfully mangled’ (p200). The fear and suspense created as these men pursue our heroine is intense but short-lived, however, as we soon hear that they are in fact the count’s servants. The dead man is not an innocent victim either but the only actual bandit in the whole novel. Although appearances momentarily suggest otherwise, the novel does never include any actual threat of harm from such savages, the only possible source of danger being this dead bandit. This is an important distinction between Roche’s style of terror and that in most other Gothic tales. While they usually abound in such actual threats of characters that are portrayed as beasts and as far removed from being human as possible, the threats in Roche’s novels are very much human and often the result of an over-active imagination. Just like Catherine, Lubin here has been so conditioned by horror stories, that he applies them to his own situation without finding out the truth first.
This method of arousing fear without the actual existence of any real danger is certainly to the credit of both Austen, Roche and Ann Radcliffe, and places them apart from other Gothic novelists who rely heavily on actual danger to create sensation and suspense.
In the novels of Roche the most fearful threat to the lives of the heroines takes the form of the libertine characters of Colonel Belgrave in The Children of the Abbey and Monsieur D’Alembert in Clermont. Colonel Belgrave is certainly a relentlessly evil character who has been the cause of the death and unhappiness of many young, beautiful women. Emma Clery in her book The Rise of Supernatural Fiction 1762-1800 suggests that the name Belgrave could conveniently mean 'grave of the beautiful' (p121), for this certainly is the case. If this is so, then Roche can be further likened to Austen, who as I discussed earlier, did not consider names to be incidental and made deliberate use of them to enrich her characters and their characterisation. Both Colonel Belgrave and Monsieur D’Alembert are truly criminal in their attempts to possess the objects of their brutish passions, and they are far more powerful threats than banditti or ghosts. Not only do they threaten the tranquillity of their victims but also their actions are likely to be the cause of the ruin of these young women's reputations. As Jane Austen states in Northanger Abbey, ‘To be disgraced in the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence’ (p48-49) is surely the greatest harm that can befall a heroine ‘and her fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character’ (p49). Indeed, to be considered infamous and therefore unmarriageable as the case would have been in eighteenth century Britain, was the greatest threat to the readers of novels, who were never likely to encounter any such dangers as banditti or ghosts.
That both authors demonstrate how such injuries to reputation are the greatest threat of all again places their novels together and in opposition to the Gothic ingredient of robbery that abounds in the works of Radcliffe. As Austen so eloquently states, that ‘Charming as were all Mrs Radcliffe’s works … it was not in them perhaps that human nature, at least in the midland counties of England, was to be looked for’ (p174). In the mountains of France or Italy perhaps, but not in a civilised country where ‘murder was not tolerated (and) servants were not slaves’ (p174).
The fact that Austen avoids such instances of sensationalism is very much characteristic of her style of writing. In a move that counteracts all the flamboyance and emotional excesses of the Gothic genre, her fiction is very much an example of naturalism. She seeks to depict characters and situations that would be familiar to her readers and in so doing, confines much of the action of her novels to the domestic setting of the drawing room. Contrary to being a restricting device, this enables Austen to make very closely observed critiques of her society, making her novels an endless source of enjoyment. So well drawn are her characters, that they are able to recommend themselves, without constant need for authorial description. I would argue that Roche, in comparison to many writers of the period, is very like Austen in this way. Although she does not draw such satirical characters, and does not so explicitly critique her society, she does tend to avoid very far-fetched situations by grounding her novels in a more realistic value system, highlighted by her insistence on Christian morality. In her ‘Preface’ to Contrast, she remarked how it is ‘her anxious wish and aim, to inculcate, under a pleasing form, pure morality; and under the garb of fiction, to express only such sentiments as may be conformable to the precepts of religion.’ This expressly stated aim is, I feel, something that Roche is not given credit for achieving in her early fictions. I would argue, however, that she carefully controls her narrative in The Children of the Abbey and Clermont so that it does conform to this objective. Amanda and Madeline retain their good characters after all, and the bad characters in the novel are all punished to a degree appropriate to the crime committed by them. Roche's insistence on such an outcome is intense, with a proper sense of propriety always being directly addressed by her parental figures.
Although the issue of propriety is not a theme that is as closely focussed upon by Roche as by Austen, that it is in the background of every event in Roche’s works is certainly true. Roche’s heroines suffer agonies over thoughts of impropriety and the figures of their fathers ensure that it is something that is considered as important. This is in stark contrast to the horror novels, a sub-genre of the Gothic genre, which often included scenes of excessive violence or ‘fleshiness’, purely for the shock value. Roche’s elegant style of Gothic in her early novels is very far removed from this and is, I believe, a symptom of the prevailing literary style of the time. This was often a criticism levelled at Gothic Romance writers, that they adopted the devices of Gothic masters such as Radcliffe purely because of the popularity of the genre. In an age when women often wrote for financial reasons, this had become a necessity. Roche, however, did not write merely for money. In a letter to the Royal Literary Fund she revealed how ‘Ere I could well guide a pen, I strove to give utterance to the workings of my mind in writing.’ Her use of Gothic devices is not, therefore, purely to gain more readers. Rather, I believe, she has been unavoidably influenced by the literary environment of her time. ‘Books were (her) early passion’, so she was obviously conditioned, as Catherine Morland was, by what she read. Unlike Catherine though, she maintains a grip on realism, by rejecting certain characteristic Gothic traits, as I have discussed.
Yet another trait, which I believe separates Roche from Gothic writers, and Radcliffe in particular in this case, is her masterful handling of narration. In Radcliffe’s shorter novels such as A Sicilian Romance, narration is replaced by excessive description of Gothic scenes. This has the effect of making the characters and situations even more unbelievable than they already are. Quite where the relationship between Julia and Hippolitus in A Sicilian Romance develops from, I am not sure, because they hardly exchange any dialogue throughout the whole novel. That such a deep and intense affection develops from nowhere is an example of the emotional excesses that the Gothic genre as a whole was derided for. In Roche’s novels, however, I consider her handling of narrative and development of relationships as being more akin to Austen than Radcliffe, because you really get a sense of how the characters interact with each other. Where romance blossoms therefore, it is expected and believable.
Still on the issue of literary style, in Radcliffe’s novels, it is her rapid descriptions of places and events that drive her plots forward. Roche, however, does not describe in detail every event, but focuses more closely on character portrayal. Like Jane Austen this allows her the freedom of having characters whose own words betray them. For example, the language of the foppish character of Freelove in The Children of the Abbey marks him out as an example of all of the vanity and effeminacy of men of fashion at this time and there is nothing about his character to recommend him. His language is petty and always critical, remarking of Amanda’s dress that ‘I suppose all the stock of the farm was sold to dress her out’ (Vol 2, p102).
However, despite the powerful impression created by this comment, Roche does go on to explicitly say of Freelove, that he is ‘a little trifling fop’ whose, ‘fortune (is) considerable but … nature had not been quite as bounteous to him as the blind goddess; both his mind and person were effeminate to a degree of insignificance’ (Vol 2, p102). Roche uses her power as author to paint a detailed picture of Freelove here, which contrasts with how Austen would have set his character up. His language does play an important part in his characterisation however, and as such, Roche can still be regarded as a master of dialogue and narrative, just as Jane Austen and Fanny Burney were also.
What I consider Jane Austen's greatest gift to be however is her innate and detailed talent for understanding and commenting upon her society. The comments that she implicitly makes about it in her novels are far-reaching and demonstrate a deep understanding of human nature. Northanger Abbey is a perfect example of her critical abilities and I consider her to the original and most astute critic of the Gothic Romance genre. This novel was begun around the same time that Roche's early novels were published, and already at this early stage she seems to have picked up on issues that critics today discuss. The most striking example of this, in my opinion, relates to Henry Tilney's comment about the 'unconquerable horror of the bed' (p139) that is foremost in the mind of every Gothic heroine. This is an explicit example of what Coral Ann Howells, a renowned critic of the Gothic genre, discusses in her book Love, Mystery, and Misery; Feeling in Gothic Fiction. She argues that 'the dread of sex runs right through Gothic fictions and is basic to many of its conventions of anxiety and terror' (p13). Certainly, the characters of Amanda and Madeline live in abject terror of rape and whenever the threat exists as it often does with the libertine characters of Colonel Belgrave and Monsieur D'Alembert occupying central positions in the novels, the suspense created is impressive. It is this threat above all others that causes the most extreme reactions in the intended victims, who faint at the very thought of it. Austen has therefore subtly tapped into an issue that was central to the plot structures of Gothic novels, an issue that until recently could never explicitly be addressed because of the taboo nature of the subject of sexuality.
Although usually grouped with writers such as Ann Radcliffe and other Gothicists, I would argue that Roche shares many of the subtleties and stylistic and thematic concerns of Jane Austen. She writes in a style a great deal more elegant than most of her contemporaries and draws very believable and not excessively romantic characters. I do not mean to depict her as a master novelist of the same calibre as Austen though, but nor do I consider her to have sought such praise for her novels. To refer to her address to her critics in her debut novel, The Vicar of Lansdowne, she states quite clearly how her writing was only 'the amusement of a few solitary hours' and unworthy of any critical notice let alone praise. Novels should ultimately be something indulged in for pleasure and escapism after all. As Austen says in Northanger Abbey, the ability to achieve this, which Roche was a master of, became something frowned upon as part of the general wish of critics, 'to undervalue the labour of the novelist' (p34) and novels therefore were never really given the praise that they were worthy of. For readers of Gothic Romances like Catherine Morland however, 'while (they) have Udolpho to read…nobody (can) make (them) miserable' (p38).