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Gothic Travel: Captivity, Monstrosity, and Emotion in Transatlantic Eighteenth-Century Literature




Aldridge, Todd

Type of Degree





In this dissertation, I explore the relationship between captivity narratives and the Gothic in eighteenth-century transatlantic literature. I move from examining traditional captivity narratives of Mary Rowlandson and Hannah Duston through a Gothic heuristic, to analyzing monstrosity and mobility in sentimental and Gothic fiction set in New England, and then to comparing captivity-Gothic representations of female oppression and slavery in semi-Gothic fiction set in the West Indies. I draw these discussions together in the works of Charles Brockden Brown in order to show how these discourses inform the American Gothic tradition. Altogether, I examine how captivity narratives and the Gothic use metaphors and depictions of travel to expose a central fear of human empathy and monstrosity.