Regina Maria Roches Clermont
Jane Austens Northanger Abbey
This paper seeks to consider
the influence of Ann Radcliffe’s fiction on the literary scene
at the end of the eighteenth century. It will examine
two very different responses to the Radcliffean paradigm,
through a study of three aspects of her variety of Gothic
as developed by Jane Austen and Regina Maria Roche.
By contrasting the reactions of these authors to divergent
strains which exist within her work, the legacy that Radcliffe
bequeathed her contemporaries might be observed in the writings
of other significant authors from the Romantic period.
As a consequence of this, it might also become clearer how
Austen’s own parodic stance can be seen operating within the
limits set by the structures of Radcliffe’s romances.
better example of Radcliffean Gothic exists than the immensely
popular Mysteries of Udolpho, the novel having gone
through four editions and numerous impressions between 1794
and 1799. As well as Austen’s only ‘Gothic’ text, against
Udolpho one can compare a comparably popular work by
Regina Maria Roche: Clermont, which was published by
the avatar of populist literature, the Minerva Press.
Clermont is, in fact, one of the seven ‘horrid novels’
mentioned by Isabella Thorpe to Catherine Morland early in
Roughly speaking, both Clermont and Northanger Abbey
were written contemporaneously, presenting comparable instances
of eighteenth-century reactions to Radcliffe. Clermont
was published in 1798 as Roche’s fourth novel, in the wake
of her previous work, the successful Children of the Abbey
(1796). Although Roche has since fallen into relative
obscurity, Devendra Varma notes that she and Radcliffe ‘were
the rival female novelists of the latter part of the eighteenth
and commencement of the nineteenth century’.
Austen’s novel presents a less straightforward example, owing
to the vicissitudes of its publishing history. The various
critical accounts of the composition of Northanger Abbey
settle on a date of between 1794 and 1798, with the Gothic
elements most likely inserted in 1798.
Austen sold it for publication under the title ‘Susan’ to
Crosby and Co in 1803, but it was not issued until 1818, posthumously
published with Persuasion, and two years after she
had bought back the copyright. Northanger Abbey
has been considered Austen’s most immature and least unified
work, many critics noting an inherent contradiction between
its two volumes. There are, however, many aspects of
the novel which demonstrate Austen’s intelligent appreciation
of contemporary literature and her ability to take its conventions
and reinscribe them in her idiosyncratic form.
Marilyn Butler notes that ‘[t]he capacity to
feel was presented as the transcendent merit of every sentimental
heroine from Julie to Delphine, enough in itself to lift them
above the common run of mortals’.
The Radcliffean protagonist is essentially a sentimental heroine
caught in a nightmare world which tests her virtues to their
limit. However, if she is graced with abundant virtues,
then the Rochean heroine is yet more perfect, and as a consequence
even more static. Of Madeline, Clermont’s heroine,
we are told,
her perfect knowledge of the
historian’s record, and just conception of the poet’s beauty,
rendered her a companion well qualified to diversify [her
father’s] lonely hours. … She was tall and delicately made;
nor was the symmetry of her features inferior to that of her
bodily form … (p. 5)
In the course of her misadventures,
Udolpho’s protagonist, Emily St Aubert, learns to balance
the imaginative sensibilities which lead her to terrifying
extremes with a rational awareness of the outside world, while
Madeline’s sensibilities are valorised without qualification.
Radcliffe simultaneously celebrates the heroine’s sensibilities
and warns of the dangers they can cause. The essential
difference between Udolpho and Clermont is that
the sentimental preponderances of the Rochean heroine are
not perceived to be dangerous or excessive in any way.
The imagined horrors which Madeline conjures up are soon followed
by realities which verify them; whereas in Udolpho,
Emily receives from the first admonishment from her father:
‘Those, who really possess
sensibility, ought early to be taught, that it is a dangerous
quality … beware of priding yourself on the gracefulness of
sensibility … Always remember how much more valuable is the
strength of fortitude, than the grace of sensibility.’ (pp.
In fact, Madeline’s fatherthe eponymous Clermontis as much an agent of sentimentalism
as his daughter. Throughout Udolpho, Emily calls
upon ‘fortitude’ to overcome the terrors engendered by her
sensibilities, and her whole Gothic journey militates towards
the realisation that her sensitive imagination is responsible
for much of her terror, and her recognition of ‘all the precepts,
which she had received from her deceased father, on the subject
of self-command … on this most severe occasion of her life’
(p. 518). Madeline, however, undergoes no such transformation,
and, as Natalie Schroeder notes, remains preserved in her
perfection: ‘Mrs Roche … as novelist, makes no critical reflections
on Madeline’s emotional distress’.
Roche’s answer to the Radcliffean paradigm is to neglect the
dangers to which sensibility can lead, and instead to celebrate
only the gifted intuitiveness of the sentimental heroine.
Despite these differences, the overwhelming impression given
by Radcliffe’s Gothic fiction is that virtuous sensibility
is the only source of happiness, is its own reward, and may
indeed received reward in this world as well as in the next.
from an antithetical position to Roche, Austen assumes the
critical stance inherent in Radcliffean Gothic, emphasising
the chimerical nature of sensibility. Daniel Cottom
argues that ‘[a]n accurate reading of Austen demands that
fewer assumptions be made about her personal psychology and
more attention paid to the disguises, silences, and submissions
demanded by the society she portrayed in her novels’.
Northanger’s heroine, Catherine Morland, is a notorious
example of the ‘female Quixote’, the heroine whose perceptions
of the world are shaped by the literature she reads.
Catherine, however, is far from the sentimental heroine she
aspires to be:
She had a thin awkward figure,
a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features;so much for her person;and not less unpropitious for
heroism seemed her mind. She was fond of all boys’ plays,
and greatly preferred cricket not merely to dolls, but to
the more heroic enjoyments of infancy, nursing a dormouse,
feeding a canary-bird, or watering a rose-bush. … She never
could learn or understand any thing before she was taught;
and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive,
and occasionally stupid. (p. 13)
From the start, Austen establishes
Catherine Morland as an antitype to the sentimental heroine.
The adolescent Catherine begins to become interested in sensibility,
however, as an arbitrary part of the maturing process of a
young eighteenth-century woman, learned from reading certain
kinds of books. Hence, Austen defines sentimentalism
as a pose rather than nature. During the eighteenth
century, sensibility was seen by many as the correct expression
of femininity, but Austen attempts to prove it as a limiting
fiction imposed upon women, and open to abuse. The exemplar
of this potential is the conceited social-climber Isabella
Thorpe, who uses the language of sentimental excess to mask
her shallowness. Sentimental language is used when Austen
describes the nascent friendship between Catherine and Isabella:
‘They called each other by their Christian name, were always
arm in arm when they walked, pinned up each other’s train
for the dance, and were not to be divided in the set …’ (p.
33). Isabella’s actions, however, belie her words; such
as, for instance, when she ignores Catherine for her flirtation
with Catherine’s brother: ‘James and Isabella were so much
engaged in conversing together, that the latter had no leisure
to bestow more on her friend than one smile, one squeeze,
and one dearest Catherine (p. 54). A speedy
engagement with James follows, and is severed as quickly,
when Isabella attempts to appropriate the more prosperous
Captain Tilney, and failing to do so, imputes her treatment
of James to a great misunderstanding. Isabella’s code
of propriety, her own and others’, is drawn from sentimental
literature, and disregards the social conventions of the real
world. Austen’s criticism of such excess is most explicit
in her description of the first acquaintance between Catherine
and Eleanor Tilney:
in all probability not an observation
was made, nor an expression used by either which had not been
made and used some thousand oftimes before, under that roof,
in every Bath season, yet the merit of their being spoken
with simplicity and truth, and without personal conceit, might
be something uncommon. (p. 66)
However, mundane such a meeting
might be, it is ‘uncommon’ because, unlike Isabella’s behaviour,
it does not seek to aggrandise the ego through reflections
of the self in others (the sudden intimacy of ‘kindred spirits’),
but is the real attempt of two people to converse socially.
This philosophy is endorsed by the fact that it is Eleanor
who proves to be Catherine’s true friend, while Isabella merely
serves her with the established platitudes learned from fiction
and detached from reality. Whereas the Radcliffean heroine
requires ‘fortitude’ to overcome her sentimental excesses,
Austen replaces fictional poses, such as sensibility, with
a social propriety which itself becomes the correct definition
TYPES OF EVIL
Austen and Roche once again polarise the divergent
aspects which inhere in Radcliffe’s presentation of the Gothic
villain. Clermont is populated by a plethora
of villains and sub-villains, but the most evil are the D’Alemberts,
father and son. Madeline’s first sight of the younger
D’Alembert is as he stands over the bleeding body of the Countess
de Merville, his mother-in-law and her benefactress, having
attempted to assassinate herhowever, at this stage his
face is obscured, so he remains unrecognised to both heroine
and reader. After the Countess dies, Madeline is unprotected
and vulnerable to the typical threats made by the Gothic villain.
D’Alembert’s wife, the late Countess’s daughter, tries to
prevent him from raping Madeline by hiding her. The
shared identity of the murderer and the husband is kept a
secret until the very end of the novel when he has finally
succeeded in kidnapping Madeline in order to marry her for
lust and fiscal gain:
violent rage took possession of D’Alembert … but the terror
which his rage inspired, was trifling to the shock which Madeline
received, when in his inflamed countenance she traced the
dreadful countenance of him beneath whose poiniard she had
trembled at midnight in the ruined monastery of Valdore. (p.
In the retrospective strand of
Clermont (another Radcliffean device), the narrative
looks back to the dark past of the previous generation, and
we discover the link between Clermont and D’Alembert père.
He leads the young Clermont to attempt the murder of his half-brother.
His motives, again are typical of the Gothic villain: Clermont's
brother is heir to the estates of D’Alembert père’s
uncle, and must be disposed of for D’Alembert to inherit the
money to pay the debts of his dissipation. Clermont
is led to believe that he has murdered his brother, although
this is not the case, and he flees. When Clermont resurfaces
many years later (in the novel’s present) at his father’s
house, D’Alembert threatens to reveal his ‘crime’ unless he
allows Madeline to wed his son. When Madeline first
perceives him, ‘she saw, or fancied she saw (which had just
the same effect upon her mind), in his countenance a dissatisfaction
that denoted his not feeling what he professed’ (p. 270).
Within four pages, he has already proposed union between Madeline
and his son, been refused, and flies into a violent rage with
her, ‘grasping her hand, and looking at her with a fiend-like
countenance’ (p. 274). Whereas Radcliffe’s Montoni is
essentially a bandit whose evil is exaggerated by Emily’s
fervid imagination, the D’Alemberts come closer to the horror-Gothic
conception of villainy, as depicted in M. G. Lewis’s The
Monk (1796) and Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer
(1820). Once again, Roche’s response is to polarise
the Radcliffean figures of her novel. Montoni is strangely
attractive to Emily’s eye, rising above his peers by sheer
force of charisma: ‘Delighting in the tumult and in the struggles
of life, he was equally a stranger to pity and fear; his very
courage was a sort of animal ferocity …’ (p. 358). Compared
to this ambiguous representation, in Clermont Madeline
finds the D’Alemberts merely repugnant, and although finally
repentant by the end of the novel, the father is no better
than the son.
Abbey also contains villains, but they are deployed in
far from Gothic terms. Catherine experiences two Gothic
encounters well before she goes to the Abbey. The first
instance occurs when she is due to meet the Tilneys for a
walk, and is ‘kidnapped’ by John Thorpe, who lies to her,
stating that Eleanor and Henry have broken their engagement
with Catherine. When she passes them on the street,
and attempts to stop Thorpe, he ‘only laughed, smacked his
whip, made odd noises, and drove on; and Catherine, angry
and vexed as she was, having no power of getting away, was
obliged to give up the point and submit’ (p. 78). Austen
ironically contrasts the fear of kidnapped Gothic heroines
when they are taken to the Gothic ruin with the fact that
such an event is Catherine’s only consolation: ‘Blaize castle
remained her only comfort; towards that, she still
looked at intervals with pleasure …’ (p. 79). The deflationary
tone of this passage is established by the fact that Blaize
Castle was a modern folly built in 1766 (in the vein of Walpole’s
Strawberry Hill), something that many contemporary readers
would have known. The irony is perpetuated when the
trip is cancelled because of the late hour of departure and
the nature of the ‘villain’, who is nothing more than a boorish
youth. The second instance is less parodic, and more
threatening, when Catherine’s arrangements are thwarted by
Thorpe, and her attempt to make amends is physically interrupted
by the Thorpes and her brother: ‘Isabella, however, caught
hold of one hand; Thorpe of the other; and remonstrances poured
in from all three. Even James was quite angry’ (p. 90).
Her response echoes Emily’s desire for ‘fortitude’ in the
face of Montoni: ‘Away walked Catherine in great agitation,
as fast as the crowd would permit her, fearful of being pursued,
yet determined to persevere’. This serious tone is not
sustained, however, as once Catherine arrives at the Tilneys’
to explain, she finds herself too much out of breath to speak
it is this event which precipitates the suspicious behaviour
of the major villain of the novel, General Tilney:
To such anxious attention was
the general’s civility carried, that not aware of her extraordinary
swiftness in entering the house, he was quite angry with the
servant who had reduced her to open the door of the apartment
herself. … And if Catherine had not warmly asserted his innocence,
it seemed likely that William would lose the favour of his
master for ever, if not his place, by her rapidity. (pp. 92–3)
Once at the Abbey, Catherine’s
Gothic delusions obscure her vision completely, and she explains
the General’s irascible behaviour and selfish decisions by
constructing a fiction that he has murdered his wife.
From her first day at the Abbey, she commits herself to discover
the secrets that lurk within it, and once she begins to suspect
the General, her imagination is obsessed with the notion.
On the one hand, her intuition leads her to infer that the
General is not all he would have her believe: ‘in spite of
their father’s great civilities to her … it has been a release
to get away from him. It puzzled her to account for
all this’ (p. 115). On the other hand, her limited knowledge
magnifies his evil until in her eyes he becomes a Gothic villain:
It was the air and attitude
of a Montoni!What could more plainly speak the gloomy workings
of a mind not wholly dead to every sense of humanity, in its
fearful review of past scenes of guilt? Unhappy man!
However, when she reveals her suspicions to
Henry, it is not long before he disabuses her of such idle
speculations: ‘ Dear Miss Morland, consider the
dreadful nature of the suspicions you have entertained.
What have you been judging from? … what ideas have you been
admitting? ’ (p. 172). Catherine accepts
this disenchantment wholeheartedly, and the general is ‘cleared
from the grossly injurious suspicions which she must ever
blush to have entertained, [although] she did believe [him],
upon serious consideration, to be not perfectly amiable’ (p.
commonsense attitude is scrutinised, however, when the General
expels Catherine mysteriously and shamefully from Northanger
Abbey: ‘Turned away from the house, and in such a way!without
any reason that could justify, any apology that could atone
for the abruptness, the rudeness, nay, the insolence of it’
(p. 197). When Henry reveals to Catherine that the General
had been promoting a union between the pair because he believed
her to be an heiress, and then expelled her upon discovering
she was not, she concludes, ‘in suspecting General Tilney
of either murdering or shutting up his wife, she had scarcely
sinned against his character, or magnified his cruelty’ (p.
215). Catherine is able to realise that she did not
mistake the General’s character, just how it would be exhibited
in his behaviour. The difference between the Gothic
villain and the General is not based on the evil within, but
(as Henry attempts to make clear) in the manner in which that
evil is realised. Austen’s villains are a disruptive
influence in her world, yet they are not subversive ones:
the General does not have the sexual charisma or sexual energy
of a Montoni; rather, he is an ill-tempered observer of forms
whose fundamental evil is a sense of his own superiority.
As George Levine notes, ‘what is monstrous about him is only
social greed and banality’.
Austen’s novel demonstrates that there is real malice present
in the General, unlike Udolpho the text suggests that
the threat he poses is not the loss of her life or chastity,
but of her dignity and happiness. Even the seven-hour
journey she faces alone is never presented as dangerous or
alarming, rather as uncivilised. The General’s villainy
rests on his adherence to the surfaces of supposedly proper
behaviour, while it in actual fact transgresses the conventions
of common decency. His mercenary attitude matches that
of the avaricious Gothic bandit, Montoni; yet compared to
the latter’s control over the heroine and his inherent power,
the General is depicted as comically prosaic. Austen
is aware of the fact that eighteenth-century England is not
a world which allows for the monochrome villains of the Gothic
milieu, and to seek them is to ignore the fundamental
evils which are perpetuated by people, like the Thorpes, and
Captain Tilney, as well as his father. Tara Ghoshal
Wallace draws an excellent contrast between Catherine’s Gothicising
of the villain and the reality of his evil:
the General remains a puzzle.
His aggressive courtship of Catherine is as much a mystery
to us as it is to his children. While Catherine, baffled
by his inconsistencies, looks for an explanation for his darker
side, we try to uncover a motive for his kindness to her.
The issue that Wallace raises
here is that, unlike sentimental fiction, Catherine and the
narrative impulse of Northanger Abbey move in opposite
directions when analysing the nature of evil in the Austenian
world; despite this, however, both ultimately arrive at the
Describing the typical Gothic ruin,
Elizabeth MacAndrew notes,
A dire and threatening place,
it remains more than a dwelling. It starts out as a
stone representation of the dark, tortured windings of the
eminently civilized, and therefore ‘unnatural’ vices, ambition
and cruelty …
In Gothic fiction, the ruin represents
the antithesis to the Augustan ideal: the triumph of chaos
over order, of imagination over rationalism, of nature over
man. These paradigmatic aspects establish the ruin as
the definitive symbol for the Romantics’ acknowledgement of
the insignificance of humanity. The approach to the
Gothic ruin generally occurs through its lowest point so that
the most picturesque, and therefore sublime, view of it can
In Clermont, there are two Gothic castles within which
Madeline faces the terrors of the D’Alemberts: the Chateaux
de Merville and Montmorenci. Her initial view of the
first is representative of the genre:
Behind the chateau lay its
old fashioned gardens … and above them, bounding the horizon,
were seen the towering Alps, those gigantic sons of creation
… The vast magnitude and decaying grandeur of the chateau,
impressed Madeline with surprise and melancholy; which were
almost heightened to awe and veneration on entering a gloomy-vaulted
hall of immense size … (pp. 38–9)
After the death of the Countess,
and the arrival of her daughter and son-in-law, Madeline is
led by Madame D’Alembert to hide from her lecherous husband,
first in the room where her benefactress died, and then in
the vaults which connect to the castle: ‘she felt chilled,
she felt oppressed beyond expression, as she viewed the records
of mortality …’ (p. 188). It is not long before her
life is threatened by a mysterious stranger, ‘drawing a small
dagger from his breast with which he … approached Madeline’
(p. 190). Similarly terrifying phenomena occur in the
Chateau de Montmorenci, which is even more decaying than its
predecessor: Madeline sees ghostly hands, hears noises, and
is threatened by the elder D’Alembert on a number of occasions.
As Mark Madoff notes,
Inside and outside is the Gothic
dimension; inside and outside is the line along which the
protagonists move, between experience and innocence, between
danger and security, … between anarchy and civilization, between
license and repression.
The Gothic ruin represents the
exaggeration of the villain’s evil to which the heroine is
forced to submit, yet also encouraged to defy. It is
a place of testing, whereby the sentimental virtues are investigated,
tempered with knowledge, and finally reinstated. Essentially,
the ruin embodies a transition, a process in which these characteristics
encounter the Sublime and combine with it to manifest ultimately
in the paradigmatic heroism of the sentimental protagonist.
with Gothic castles and her anticlimactic experience of them
is first exhibited in her abortive ‘abduction’ by John Thorpe
to Blaize Castle. Austen is preparing the reader for
the centrepiece of the novelNorthanger Abbey itself.
On the way to the Abbey, Henry presents Catherine with a ‘Gothic
story’ about what she can expect upon her arrival: ‘ Are
you prepared to encounter all the horrors that building such
as ‘what one reads about’ may produce?Have you a stout
heart?Nerves fit for sliding panels and tapestry?
(p. 138). Henry intersperses details from various Radcliffean
romances, whilst including real details of what does exist
in the housethe chest and the japanned closetso
that when Catherine does arrive she confuses reality with
fiction. Austen deflates the Gothic potential of the
Abbey as soon as it appears:
To pass between lodges of a
modern appearance, to find herself with such ease in the very
precincts of the abbey, and driven so rapidly along a smooth,
level road of fine gravel, without obstacle, alarm, or solemnity
of any kind, struck her as odd and inconsistent. (p. 141)
When she finally arrives, Catherine’s
initial feelings leave her disappointed, because she enters
‘without feeling one aweful foreboding of future misery to
herself, or one moment’s suspicion of any past scenes of horror
being acted within the solemn edifice’. Austen’s ironic
comparison between the reality of the Abbey and her heroine’s
Gothic dreams continues the deflationary impulse of Northanger
abbey!yes, it was delightful to be really in an abbey!but she doubted, as she looked round the room, whether any
thing within her observation, would have given her the consciousness.
The furniture was in all the profusion and elegance of modern
taste. … The windows, to which she looked with peculiar dependence,
from having heard the General talk of his preserving them
in their Gothic form with reverential care, were yet less
what her fancy had portrayed. To be sure, the pointed
arch was preservedthe form of them was Gothicthey might
be even casementsbut every pane was so large, so clear,
so light! To an imagination which had hoped for the
smallest divisions, and the heaviest stone-work, for painted
glass, dirt and cobwebs, the difference was very distressing.
Despite such ironic inversions,
and although Catherine tells Henry, ‘[t]his is just like a
book!But it cannot really happen to me’ (p. 139), when
she discovers the mysterious chest in her room, her words
typically echo those of the Gothic heroine: ‘I will look into
itcost me what it may, I will look into itand directly
tooby day-light .If I stay till evening my candle may
go out’ (p. 143). What she finds within is a ‘white
cotton counterpane’, and Austen points out the absurdity of
such delusions, when Eleanor arrives at her door: ‘the rising
shame of having harboured for some minutes an absurd expectation,
[to] which was then added the shame of being caught in so
idle a search’ (p. 144). However, Catherine’s perceptions
remain obscured by her reading: later the same day, she searches
through a promising closet, and finds ‘a roll of paper pushed
back into the further part of the cavity, apparently for concealment
…’ (p. 148). Austen’s dismantling of Gothic apparatus
reaches its climax when the papers disclose their secret:
‘Could it be possible, or did not her sense play her false?An inventory of linen, in coarse and modern characters,
seemed all that was before her!’ (p. 150). Unable to
find any secrets in the Abbey, Catherine transfers her Gothic
fantasies onto the General, until all her romantic indulgences
are shown to be false by Henry’s famous remonstrance about
her perceptions. The Abbey is not what Catherine has
made it, and each moment of surrender to ordinary reality
is followed by a resolution not to make the same errors of
imagination again, but each resolution is then followed by
an application of the same error. She finds the chest,
then the cabinet, then the laundry bill, and finally the General.
The heroine cannot locate the true meaning of evil for herself,
as is manifest by her uncomprehending response to her expulsion.
Whereas the Gothic ruin interrogates the values of sensibility
and the progress to a world tempered with knowledge, Austen’s
thoroughly modern Abbey represents the deflation of the false
aesthetic attitudes Catherine has adopted from her reading,
from Isabella, and even from Henry. As Darrel Mansell
notes, ‘It is the Udolpho that Jane Austen is going to destroy
with commonplace facts’.
The romanticised Abbey is, ironically, a place where romantic
ideas are banished for the quotidian realities of the world,
and where the Gothic delusion about the General’s behaviour
must be replaced with tangible fact of his evil, which is
essentially the same, even if manifests itself in an entirely
Jane Austen and Regina Maria Roche exemplify two
contradictory aspects which form a fundamental part of Radcliffean
Gothic. While Radcliffe’s fictions celebrate the imaginative
power of the heroine, they also militate against the sensibility
which underpins it. Emily St Aubert’s experiences lead
her to realise that, however admirable sentimental virtues
might be, a perception grounded in feeling is an essentially
problematised one. Roche, on the other hand, uniformly
adopts those tropes of Radcliffe’s fiction which validate
the prescience of sentimentalism without question. While
some of its excesses are brought into relief, sensibility
is never as fully interrogated in Clermont as it is
in The Mysteries of Udolpho. Roche’s Gothicism
ultimately resolves itself as a distillation, and simplification,
of her predecessor’s texts: while Roche’s heroines might be
braver and more resilient than Radcliffe’s, they are less
self-aware. Hence, Roche’s role in the Radcliffean paradigm
may be perceived as a retroactive one, returning to the more
unilateral forms of the earlier Gothic writers. Austen,
on the other hand, develops the critical aspects of Radcliffe’s
Gothicism, emphasising the absurdity of attempts to relate
romance to reality. Austen’s progression from Radcliffe
is evident in the fact that, while Radcliffe disturbs eighteenth-century
theories of sensibility, Austen herself challenges the particular
texts which exemplify such notionsin this case, Radcliffe’s
own Mysteries of Udolpho. It is, then, from this
understanding, that one can begin to place Austen identifiably
within the terms of an antecedent Radcliffean tradition.
Northanger Abbey, ed. Marilyn Butler (1818; London:
Penguin, 1995), p. 37: ‘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’. Subsequent
references to the text are taken from this edition, and will
be included in parentheses in the essay.
interesting commentaries on the ‘horrid novels’, q.v., Michael
Sadleir, ‘The Northanger Novels: A Footnote to Jane Austen’,
The English Association Pamphlet 69 (1927), 1–23; and
Bette B. Roberts, ‘The Horrid Novels: The Mysteries of
Udolpho and Northanger Abbey ’, Gothic
Fictions: Prohibition/Transgression, ed. Kenneth W. Graham
(New York: AMS Press, 1989; Ars Poetica Series 5), pp. 89–111.
See also section III of this essay.
to Regina Maria Roche, Clermont: A Tale in Four Volumes,
ed. Devendra P. Varma (1798; London: Folio Press, 1968; The
Northanger Set of Jane Austen Horrid Novels), p. vii.
Subsequent references to the text are taken from this edition,
and will be included in parentheses in the essay. For
more information on Roche’s writings, q.v., Natalie Schroeder,
‘Regina Maria Roche, Popular Novelist, 1789–1834: The Rochean
Canon’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America
73 (1979), 462–8: ‘Regina Maria Roche is one of the major
luminaries of the generation of Charlotte Smith and Ann Radcliffe.
By the critical establishment of the 1790s, such as it was,
she was not as much admired as the authors of Emmeline
and The Romance of the Forest, but her readers were
legion’ (p. 462). See also section II of this essay.
Alan D. McKillop, ‘Critical Realism in Northanger Abbey’,
Jane Austen: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Ian
Watt (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1963), pp. 52–61; also, B.
C. Southam, Jane Austen’s Literary Manuscripts (London:
Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 60–2; and Cecil S. Emden,
‘The Composition of Northanger Abbey’, RES ns.
19 (1968), 279–87.
Butler, Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1973), p. 169.
Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho, ed. Bonamy
Dobrée (1794; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980),
p. 342: consider, for instance, when Emily chastises
herself ‘for suffering her romantic imagination to carry her
so far beyond the bounds of probability, and determined to
endeavour to check its rapid flights, lest they should sometimes
extend into madness’. Subsequent references to the text
are taken from this edition, and will be included in parentheses
in the essay.
Schroeder, ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho and Clermont:
The Radcliffean Encroachment on the Art of Regina Maria Roche’,
Studies in the Novel 12 (1980), 137.
Cottom, The Civilized Imagination: A Study of Ann Radcliffe,
Jane Austen, and Sir Walter Scott (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1985), p. 87
Levine, ‘Translating the Monstrous: Northanger Abbey ’,
NCF 30 (1975), 335.
Ghoshal Wallace, ‘Northanger Abbey and the Limits of
Parody’, Studies in the Novel 20 (1988), 269.
Elizabeth MacAndrew, The
Gothic Tradition in Fiction (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1979), pp. 48–9.
Q.v., Michael Charlesworth,
‘The Ruined Abbey: Picturesque and Gothic Values’, The
Politics of the Picturesque: Literature, Landscape and Aesthetics
since 1790, edd. Stephen Copley and Peter Garside (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 62–80.
Mark S. Madoff, ‘Inside, Outside, and the Gothic
Locked-Room Mystery’, Gothic Fictions, ed. Graham,
Mansell, The Novels of Jane Austen: An Interpretation
(1973; London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1974), p. 41.
MARIA ROCHE, 1764?1845:
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF NOVELS
Below is a chronological listing
of the fiction published by Regina Maria Roche during her
career as a novelist, including a list of ‘doubtful and suppositious
works’. Each entry lists the full title, year of publication,
publisher, and information regarding holdings listed in the
Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogues
[ESTC/NSTC]. The presence of copies in the Corvey
Microfiche Edition (CME) is also indicated when possible.
The letters BI before a list of holding libraries denotes
that they are to be found in Britain and Ireland, and similarly
the letters NA denote libraries in North America. For
the purpose of consistency the abbreviations for holding libraries
are the same as those used in the ESTC, even when the source
of the holding is the NSTC. Where the edition which
provides the entry does not appear in the ESTC or NSTC, this
will be denoted by a preceding ‘x’ (e.g. xESTC).
The Vicar of Lansdowne;
or, Country Quarters. A Tale. By Maria Regina [sic]
Dalton. In Two Volumes. (Printed for the Author:
and Sold by J. Johnson, 1789). 2 vols. 12mo.
ESTC t071894 (BI L, NA OU, ViU).
* Further edns: London 1800, Baltimore 1802, New York 1802,
London 1825; French trans. 1789, German trans. 1790.
The Maid of the Hamlet.
A Tale. By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Vicar of Landsdown.
(London: Printed for H. Long, ). 2 vols. 12mo.
xESTC [1st edn. not located].
* Further edns: London 1800, Boston 1801, Dublin 1802, London
1821, 1833; French trans. 1801.
The Children of the Abbey,
a Tale. In Four Volumes. By Regina Maria Roche. (London:
Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva-Press, 1796). 4
ESTC t119309 (BI C, L; NA ViU).
* Further edns: Philadelphia 1796, London 1797, 1798,
Cork 1798, London 1800, Philadelphia 1801, London 1805,
New York 1805, Philadelphia 1812, New York 1816, Philadelphia
1816, Belfast, 1826, Glasgow 1826, London 1836; French trans.
1797, German trans. 1803.
Clermont. A Tale. In Four
Volumes. By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Children of
the Abbey, &c. &c. (London: Printed at the Minerva-Press,
for William Lane, 1798). 4 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-45156-6); ESTC t144530 (BI L; NA CtY-BR,
InU-Li, ViU etc.).
* Further edns: Dublin 1799, Philadelphia 1802, London 1836;
French trans. 1798.
Nocturnal Visit. A Tale.
In Four Volumes. By Maria Regina
[sic] Roche, Author
of The Children of the Abbey, Maid of the Hamlet, Vicar
of Lansdowne, and Clermont.
(London: Printed at
the Minerva-Press, for William Lane, 1800). 4 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48463-4); ESTC t127131 (BI L; NA CaAEU,
* Further edns: Philadelphia 1801; French trans. 1801, German
The Discarded Son; or,
Haunt of the Banditti. A Tale. In Five Volumes. By Regina
Maria Roche, Author of The Children of the Abbey, &c.
(London: Printed at the Minerva-Press, for Lane, Newman,
and Co., 1807). 5 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48458-8); NSTC R1415 (BI C, L).
* Further edns: New York 1807, London 1825; French trans.
The Houses of Osma and
Almeria; or, Convent of St. Ildefonso. A Tale. In Three
Volumes. By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Children of
the Abbey, Discarded Son, &c. (London: Printed at
the Minerva Press, for A. K. Newman and Co., 1810). 3 vols.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48462-6); NSTC D147 (BI L).
* Further edn: Philadelphia 1810.
The Monastery of St. Columb;
or, the Atonement. A Novel. In Five Volumes. By Regina Maria
Roche, Author of The Children of the Abbey; Houses of Osma
and Almeria; Discarded Son, &c. (London: Printed
at the Minerva-Press, for A. K. Newman and Co., 1813). 5
Corvey (CME 3-628-48460-X); NSTC D149.5 (BI L).
* Further edns: New York and Philadelphia 1813; German trans.
1816, French trans. 1819.
Trecothick Bower; or,
the Lady of the West Country. A Tale. In Three Volumes.
By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Children of the Abbey;
Discarded Son; Houses of Osma and Almeria; Monastery of
St. Columb; Vicar of Lansdowne, &c. &c. (London:
Printed at the Minerva-Press, for A. K. Newman and Co.,
1814). 3 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48465-0); NSTC D151 (BI L, O).
* Further edn: Philadelphia and Boston 1816.
- The Munster Cottage Boy. A Tale. In Four
Volumes. By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Children of
the Abbey, Trecothick Bower, Monastery of St. Columb, &c.
&c. (London: Printed at the Minerva-Press for A. K.
Newman and Co., 1820). 4 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48461-8); NSTC 2D1379 (BI L, O).
* Further edns: New York 1820; French trans. 1821.
- Bridal of Dunamore; and Lost and Won.
Two Tales. By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Children of
the Abbey, Trecothick Bower, Maid of the Hamlet, Munster Cottage
Boy, Vicar of Lansdown, Houses of Osma and Almeria, &c.
In Three Volumes. (London: Printed for A. K. Newman and
Co., 1823). 3 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48428-6); NSTC 2R14777 (BI C, L, O).
* Further edn: French trans. 1824.
- The Tradition of the Castle; or, Scenes
in the Emerald Isle. In Four Volumes. By Regina Maria Roche,
Author of The Children of the Abbey, Vicar of Lansdown, Maid
of the Hamlet, &c. (London: Printed for A. K. Newman
and Co., 1824). 4 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48464-2); NSTC 2D1381 (BI L, O).
* Further edn: French trans. 1824.
- The Castle Chapel. A Romantic Tale. In
Three Volumes. By Regina Maria Roche, Author of The Children
of the Abbey; Bridal of Dunamore; Clermont; Discarded Son;
Houses of Osma and Almeria; Munster Cottage Boy; Tradition
of the Castle; Trecothick Bower; Maid of the Hamlet; Vicar
of Lansdowne, &c. (London: Printed for A. K. Newman
and Co., 1825). 3 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48429-4); NSTC 2D1372 (BI L, O).
* Further edn: French trans. 1825.
- Contrast. In Three Volumes. By Regina
Maria Roche, Author of The Children of the Abbey; Discarded
Son; Vicar of Lansdown; Bridal of Dunamore; Tradition of the
Castle; Castle Chapel, &c. &c. (London: A. K.
Newman & Co., 1828). 3 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-48457-X); NSTC 2D1378 (BI E, L, O).
* Further edn: New York 1828.
- The Nun’s Picture. A Tale. By Regina Maria
Roche, Author of The Children of the Abbey, Discarded Son,
Castle Chapel, Contrast, Bridal of Dunamore, Maid of the Hamlet,
Clermont, Vicar of Lansdowne, &c. &c. In Three
Volumes. (London: Printed for A. K. Newman and Co., 1836).
3 vols. 12mo.
NSTC 2D1380 (BI L).
* Further edn: Dublin 1843.
AND SUPPOSITIOUS WORKS
The works listed below have at one time been attributed to,
or associated with, Regina Maria Roche. The evidence
available at present indicates that these titles are likely
not to be by Roche herself, and that the ‘Mrs Roche’ referred
to in entries 2 to 4 is either another author or a fictional
device invented by their publishers, with the intent of capitalising
on the fame of Regina Maria Roche. This seems especially
the case since works accepted to be written by Regina Maria
Roche were printed only at the Minerva Press, following her
success with The Children of the Abbey in 1796.
These last three suppositious works, published within the
limited timespan of 1814–15, seem to have no links with the
Minerva whatsoever, despite the fact that Roche continued
her association with A. K. Newman until 1836. As well
as the seven-year gap between 1800 and 1807, there seem to
be, however, no works published under her (full) name from
1815 to 1819, by either Minerva or any other publisherat
present this hiatus is unaccounted for. For a fuller
examination of the status of these titles, see Natalie Schroeder,
‘Regina Maria Roche, Popular Novelist, 1789–1834: The Rochean
Canon’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America
73 (1979), 462–8.
Alvondown Vicarage. A
Novel. In Two Volumes. (London: Printed at the Minerva-Press,
for Lane, Newman, and Co., 1807). 2 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-47051-X); NSTC R1414 (BI O).
* This title had been widely catalogued as by Roche, although
not in the English Catalogue of Books; another unusual
fact which leaves the issue of authorship open to question
is that the usual formula of title-chains is omitted here.
London Tales; or, Reflective
Portraits. (London: Printed for John Booth, 1814). 2
Corvey (CME 3-628-51094-5); NSTC D148 (BI L).
* The copy held in the British Library has the name ‘Mrs.
Roche’ inscribed on the title-page. Schroeder notes, ‘the
style is spare and unliterary in character, and (except
on the title page) there is no use of mottoes or intercalated
poetry, which, since The Children of the Abbey, Mrs.
Roche had regularly employed to give her work a genteel
atmosphere’ (pp. 466–7).
Plain Tales. By Mrs. Roche,
Author of The Moor, &c. In Two Volumes.
(London: Published and Sold by G. Walker […] Sold also by
Cradock and Joy, 1814). 2 vols. 12mo.
xNSTC [copy located in Bristol University’s Early Novels
* The Moor has so far not been located.
Anna; or, Edinburgh. A
Novel, in Two Volumes. By Mrs. Roche, Author of London
Tales, or Reflective Portraits, The Moor,
Plain Tales; &c. (London: Printed for
R. Hill […] Sold also by Cradock and Joy; and All Other
Booksellers, 1815). 2 vols. 12mo.
Corvey; CME 3-628-48427-8; xNSTC.
OF THE NORTHANGER
This section contains details of the ‘horrid
novels’ mentioned by Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey.
The structure of the entries is identical to that of section
II, with the exception that author’s names have also been
included with the entries; brackets are used to enclose the
names of authors who published anonymously or those parts
of names not included on title-pages.
GROSSE, [Karl Friedrich
August]; translated by WILL, P[eter].
Horrid Mysteries. A Story from the German of the Marquis
of Grosse. By P. Will. In Four Volumes. (London: Printed
for William Lane, 1796). 4 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-45056-X); ESTC t166402 (BI Ota; NA CtY-BR).
* Trans. of Memoiren des Marquis von G***s (1787–98).
[KAHLERT, Carl Friedrich];
translated by TEUTHOLD, Peter.
The Necromancer: or the Tale of the Black Forest: Founded
on Facts. Translated from the German of Lawrence Flammenberg,
by Peter Teuthold. In Two Volumes. (London: Printed
for William Lane, at the Minerva-Press, 1794). 2 vols. 12mo.
ESTC t014934 (BI L; NA CLU-S/C, ICN, ViU etc.)
* Trans. of Der Geisterbanner (1792). Further edn:
The Midnight Bell, a German Story, Founded on Incidents
in Real Life. In Three Volumes.
(London: Printed for
H. D. Symonds, 1798). 3 vols. 12mo.
Corvey (CME 3-628-45116-7); ESTC t173059 (BI L, C; NA CaAEU,
IU, NjP etc.).
* Further edns: Dublin 1798, Cork 1798, Philadelphia 1799,
London 1825; German trans. 1800.
Castle of Wolfenbach; a German Story. In Two Volumes.
By Mrs. Parsons, Author of Errors of Education, Miss Meredith,
Woman as She Should Be, and Intrigues of a Morning.
(London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press
[…] and Sold by E. Harlow, 1793). 2 vols. 12mo.
ESTC t185360 (BI O; NA IU, ViU).
* Further edns: London 1794, 1824, 1835, 1839, 1854.
The Mysterious Warning, a German Tale. In Four Volumes.
By Mrs. Parsons. Author of Voluntary Exile, &c.
(London: Printed for William Lane, at the Minerva Press,
1796). 4 vols. 12mo.
ESTC t141205 (BI L; NA ICN, IU, MH-H, ViU).
ROCHE, Regina Maria.
Clermont. A Tale. [See entry 4 of Section II, above.]
The Orphan of the Rhine. A Romance, in Four Volumes.
By Mrs. Sleath. (London: Printed at the Minerva-Press,
for William Lane, 1798). 4 vols. 12mo.
xESTC [Library of Congress online gateway <http://lcweb.loc.gov/z3950/gateway.html>
indicates copies of 1st edn. located in Yale and Virginia
Universities (Sadleir-Black Collection of Gothic Novels)
This article is copyright © 1999 Centre
for Editorial and Intertextual Research, and is the result
of the independent labour of the scholar or scholars credited
with authorship. The material contained in this
document may be freely distributed, as long as the origin
of information used has been properly credited in the appropriate
manner (e.g. through bibliographic citation, etc.).
TO THIS ARTICLE
A. A. MANDAL. ‘Revising the Radcliffean
Model: Regina Maria Roche’s Clermont and Jane Austen’s
Northanger Abbey’, Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic
Text 3 (September 1999). Online: Internet (date accessed):
Anthony Mandal (BA Dunelm, MA Wales) is a
PhD student at Cardiff University, examining the literary
and publishing world faced by Jane Austen in the 1810s.
His thesis seeks to consider a number of pertinent questions:
What were contemporary novelists writing? How easy was
it for a woman writing in the nineteenth century? How successful
was Austen compared to her peers? How astute was she,
entering the literary marketplace at a time when female authors
were at their most prolific? Answering these questions
might lead to Austen being considered, not as an isolated
author, but as one who was very much a part of the publishing
world of the early nineteenth century.
Published contributions include
entries in the forthcoming Cambridge Bibliography of English
Literature (3rd edn.), and New Dictionary of National
Biography, as well as articles (including one on Radcliffe’s
Mysteries of Udolpho) in Fitzroy-Dearborn’s Encyclopedia
of the Novel (1999). Other main interests include
information technology and the Internet, and how these advances
can be combined with traditional scholarly skills to produce
dynamic tools for researchers.
Last modified 10 September
This document is maintained by Anthony Mandal (Mandal@cf.ac.uk).