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dc.contributor.authorTarr, Clayton Carlyle
dc.description.abstractThis study examines frame narratives from the late eighteenth century through the late Victorian period. Studies of the Gothic have either neglected framing devices or dismissed them as conventions that establish structures of narrative. This project, however, reads them as formally destabilizing. While frame narratives appear to provide structure—limits, boundaries, borders—they far more frequently disturb narrative cohesiveness. Starting with Ann Radcliffe’s revolutionary approach, which situated the frame narrative within the fiction itself rather than outside as paratext, novelists used form to intensify the Gothic effect. In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, for example, Walton’s letters enclose Victor’s central narrative, but when the creature authoritatively appears in both sections of the frame, the comforting narrative boundary between character and reader ruptures. The study proceeds with chapters on Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, Charles Robert Maturin, and James Hogg. In addition, it interrogates how several nineteenth-century writers reimagine the Gothic frame, first through chapters on the Brontës and Dickens, and finally through Joseph Conrad and Henry James. “The Force of a Frame” excavates, for the first time, the rich relations between frame and form to develop a new understanding of the narrative dynamics and aesthetic vibrancy of the Gothic novel. Far from tangential, the Gothic novel in fact provides a foundation for aesthetic realism. Perhaps it is not the comfortable realism we expect, that which directs us towards claims of objectivity, but it is a realism based on human experience, the often disturbing, sometimes horrifying reality of perspective, untruth, and doubt.
dc.subjectNovel, Gothic, Realism, Framing devices, Narrative, Aesthetics, Print culture
dc.titleThe force of a frame
dc.title.alternativenarrative boundaries and the Gothic novel
dc.description.advisorRichard Menke
dc.description.committeeRichard Menke
dc.description.committeeChloe Wigston Smith
dc.description.committeeRoxanne Eberle

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