Count Roderic's Castle; or Gothic Times, a Tale. Lane, 1794.

As in the use of strong liquors, the same tone of hilarity can only be kept up by perpetually increasing the quantity of vinous spirit; so, in providing the public with the gratifications of fancy, the works of fiction, that they may keep pace with the progress of fastidiousness in taste, must gradually ascend from the most simple exhibition of natural sentiments and passions, through every stage of splendid ornament, and wild extravagance. It is from this principle, that we account for the present daily increasing rage for novels addressed to the strong passions of wonder and terrour. The class of readers, for whom this kind of entertainment is provided, . . . require to have their curiosity excited by artificial concealments, their astonishment kept awake by a perpetual succession of wonderful incidents, and their very blood congealed with chilling horrours.
          For readers, who are arrived at this high state of ebriety, the novel now before us appears to be particularly well adapted.

[SOURCE: Analytical Review, 20, Appendix (1794), pp. 488–9]

Return to Theory and Criticism

Return to Index of Gothic Readings