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Clara Reeve (1729-1807), novelist, was the author of several novels, of which only one is remembered -- The Old English Baron (1777), written in imitation of, or rivalry with, the Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford, with which it has often been printed. Her novel has noticeably influenced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Her innovative history of prose fiction, The Progress of Romance (1785), can be regarded generally as a precursor to modern histories of the novel and specifically as upholding the tradition of female literary history. * This Story is the literary offspring of The Castle of Otranto, written upon the same plan, with a design to unite the most attractive and interesting circumstances of the ancient Romance and modern Novel, at the same time it assumes a character and manner of its own, that differs from both; it is distinguished by the appellation of a Gothic Story, being a picture of Gothic times and manners...A man shall admire and almost adore the Epic poems of the Ancients, and yet despise and execrate the ancient Romances, which are only Epics in prose.
When your expectation is wound up to the highest pitch, these circumstances take it down with a witness, destroy the work of imagination, and, instead of attention, excite laughter. I was both surprised and vexed to find the enchantment dissolved, which I wished might continue to the end of the book; and several of its readers have confessed the same disappointment to me: The beauties are so numerous, that we cannot bear the defects, but want it to be perfect in all respects.
Clara Reeve (1729 - 1807) was an English novelist, best known for her Gothic novel The Old English Baron (1777). She also wrote an innovative history of prose fiction, The Progress of Romance (1785). Her first work was a translation from Latin, then an unusual language for a woman to learn. After the death of her father, she lived with her mother and sisters in Colchester. It was there that she first became an author, publishing a translation of the historical allegory Argenis by John Barclay under the title of The Phoenix (1772). She wrote several novels, of which only one is remembered: The Champion of Virtue, later known as The Old English Baron (1777), written in imitation of, or rivalry with, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, with which it has often been printed. The first edition under the title of The Old English Baron was dedicated to the daughter of Samuel Richardson, who is said to have helped Reeve revise and correct the novel. The novel noticeably influenced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.