In many ways, the Gothic can be viewed as a project of English Nationalism. It was incredibly effective in aligning the most foul agents of evil (Schedoni, Ambrosio, the Inquisition) with the excesses and extremes of the Catholic church. In this way, the Gothic glorified the sensible, modest morality of the English protestant movement. It also portrayed the people prone to the most extreme passions and excesses as objects of horror, a characterization which served as a useful contrast to the English ideals of common sense and rationality. The Gothic also often operated in a xenophobic vein, using Spain, Italy, and other foreign countries as settings for the most terrifying tales, and casting people of other races and nationalities as less desirable or downright monstrous, such as the Banyan in “Henrietta de Bellgrave.” This xenophobia dovetailed well with English anxieties over its tremendous growth by way of imperial expansion. Although they may have enjoyed the wealth and security of empire, the English were worried about the spread of ideas from other countries into their own. Even the French Revolution was a source of dread for the English, who were afraid it would spread across the channel.
Courtesy of Wendy Fall, Marquette University
Wright, Angela. Britain, France and the Gothic, 1764-1820 : The Import of Terror . Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2013. Print.
The History of Zoa, the Beautiful Indian, Daughter of Henrietta de Bellgrave; and of Rodomond, Whom Zoa Releases from Confinement, and with Him Makes Her Escape from Her Father, Who Was the Occasion of Rodomond's Imprisonment and Dreadful Sufferings. To Which is Added the Memoirs of Lucy Harris, a Foundling, Who, at Sixteen Years of Age Was Discovered to be Daughter to the Countess of B- A True Story, Unknown
The True and Affecting History of Henrietta de Bellgrave; A Woman Born Only for Calamities. Being an Unhappy Daughter, Wretched Wife, and Unfortunate Mother; Containing a Series of the Most Uncommon Adventures that Ever Befel One Person by Sea and Land, Unknown