Reference > Cambridge History > The Period of the French Revolution > The Growth of the Later Novel > Clara Reeve
  Charlotte Smith; Regina Maria Roche; Eaton Stannard Barrett Ann Radcliffe  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

XIII. The Growth of the Later Novel.

§ 15. Clara Reeve.


Something like a whole generation had passed since what was undoubtedly the first example, and, to some extent, the pattern, of the whole style, The Castle of Otranto, had appeared. Horace Walpole was still alive; but it is not probable that he regarded this sudden mob of children or grandchildren with any affection. Indeed, he had just pronounced Otranto itself to Hannah More as “fit only for its time”—a judgment which it is not difficult to interpret without too much allowance for his very peculiar sincerity in insincerity. At any rate, the new books were very fit for their time; and, though the German romances which (themselves owing not a little to Otranto) had come between influenced Lewis, at least, very strongly, it is not certain that they were needed to produce Mrs. Radcliffe. Much stronger influence on her has been assigned, and some must certainly be allowed, to Clara Reeve, 10  the direct follower (again not to his delight) of Walpole, whose Champion of Virtue (better known by its later title The Old English Baron) appeared in 1777: and, though a rather feeble thing, has held its ground in recent reprints better than either Otranto or Udolpho. Clara Reeve’s really best work, though one never likely to have been, or to be, popular, is The Progress of Romance, a curious, stiffly old-fashioned, but by no means illinformed or imbecile, defence of her art (1785). She also, in her Charoba, anticipated, though she did not originate, and it is not sure whether she directly suggested, the story of Landor’s Gebir.   28

Note 10. See ante, Vol. X, Chap. III. [ back ]

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Charlotte Smith; Regina Maria Roche; Eaton Stannard Barrett Ann Radcliffe  
 
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