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Sentimental MemorialsWomen and the Novel in Literary History$
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Melissa Sodeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791328

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791328.001.0001

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Reading and Remembering Ann Radcliffe

Reading and Remembering Ann Radcliffe

(p.47) Chapter 2 Reading and Remembering Ann Radcliffe
Sentimental Memorials

Melissa Sodeman

Stanford University Press

Ann Radcliffe’s fiction taps into the historical consciousness opened up by Sophia Lee to depict, in a different way, the problems of historical recovery. Radcliffe’s scenes of reading emphasize what is left out of written records, cuing her readers to see how just as the technology of writing cannot fully archive the complexity of lived experience, neither can the past be revived by sympathetic reading. In an era intensely aware of the historicity of writing, of the ways in which language was subject to decay and only some texts were retrieved from dereliction and neglect, Radcliffe anticipates the fading of her novelistic effects and her disappearance from a canon reserved largely for male poets. Her novels allow us to better read the situation of popular women novelists, for despite her unsurpassed success, even Radcliffe found herself outside the protections given to more canonical authors.

Keywords:   Ann Radcliffe, reading, British literary canon, canon formation, British novel, sentimental novel, eighteenth century

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