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Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 2.0, University of Osnabrück, 14 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: There are more than 50 years between 'The Castle of Otranto' and 'Melmoth the Wanderer'. 'The Castle of Otranto' was published 1764, 'The Italian' 1797 and 'Melmoth the Wanderer' 1820. It might be interesting that 'The Castle of Otranto' was published in year of birth of Ann Radcliffe and 'The Italian' has been published in the year Horace Walpole died. An incident of course, but an interesting one. 'The Castle of Otranto' is set in the time between 1095 and 1243, 'The Italian' is set in the 18th century and 'Melmoth the Wanderer' covers an period of time from the late 17th century to the early 19th century. In the following work will find out especially about the women in the three mentioned novels. In which way are they presented, is there a stereotype of a gothic heroine and are there changes throughout the time referring to the date of publishing and writing? The first point will be a short definition of the term 'Gothic' according to literature. The second point will be an introduction of the three authors. For a better understanding of their work and the possible differences a look at their biography is absolutely necessary for me. In order of publishing I will introduce Horace Walpole ('The Castle of Otranto'), Ann Radcliffe ('The Italian') and Charles Robert Maturin ('Melmoth the Wanderer'). Additional to some biographical dates I will give some information about their work and their style of writing. After introducing the authors I will concentrate on the novels and how women are described and presented. Which role do they play in the three novels? Is there something special about each woman in the texts? Here I will concentrate on some characteristics which are typical for gothic novels and not so much on the social conventions or expectations women are faced with at the appropriate times. The last point of my work will be a little conclusion. Because of the wide range of this theme I don't claim to the completeness of my research.

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