The ‘inadequacy of her resistance’: Reading Eighteenth-Century Rape Trials in Peter Teuthold’s The Necromancer
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Once thought to be the fictitious creations of Jane Austen, the seven Gothic novels that comprise the ‘Northanger ‘Horrid’ Novels’ have been critically neglected since their rediscovery in the early twentieth century. This paper engages with ideas of absence and exclusion within the ‘horrid’ novel The Necromancer by Peter Teuthold, in order to consider the historical (mis)construction of women by male voices in eighteenth-century rape trials. Particular emphasis is placed on an embedded narrative within the text that subversely explores the ways in which the female voice is subsequently read and mis(constructed), so that the narrative is ‘structured’ and ‘arranged’ to construct a version of a woman at odds with femininity, one that ultimately deviates from ‘the natural order.’
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