Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Griffith’

Picture Post

22 April 2011

By Christina Morin

Some of my reading material this week…

Further Adventures in Eighteenth-Century Fiction

11 April 2011

By Christina Morin

It’s been a while since I’ve shared my thoughts on my favourite eighteenth-century Irish fiction, so I thought I’d offer a few more suggestions. Given the nature of my current research (a project called ‘The Gothic Novel in Ireland, 1760-1830’), I’ve been reading extensively in Irish Gothic fiction from the mid- to late-eighteenth century. As a result, my recommendations are drawn from this recent reading of now overlooked but no less interesting fiction. Unfortunately, these texts are so rare today as not to be available in modern editions – so you won’t be able to head out into the sunshine we’re having for a lazy though potentially sublime afternoon. That is, of course, unless you have a laptop, wifi, and remote access to Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO). Be that as it may, these are fascinating examples of eighteenth-century Irish literary production, all of which point to the need to re-assess current perspectives on Irish fiction of the period and its important contribution to the contemporary rise of Gothic fiction. So, without further ado….

  1. The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley (1760) by ‘A Young Lady’ has been identified in recent years as a Gothic novel predating Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764) – the text now generally understood as the ‘first’ British Gothic novel. Set initially in Ireland, the novel follows the eponymous heroine as she meets and falls in love with the son of an ancient Irish family. On the eve of their marriage, however, Horatio is killed and taken away by pirates near Sophia’s coastal home, and she is left distraught. Worse is yet to come, however, when her father, falling fatally ill, reveals that his affairs are horribly compromised. Upon her father’s death, Sophia emigrates to London, where she endures a series of unfortunate mishaps, abductions, and daring escapes before….  Well, I won’t spoil the plot for you. Suffice it to say, there is a happy ending, but perhaps not the one you might expect. Only one volume long, The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley won’t require too much investment on your part and is well worth the read! Read more