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Saturday, April 27 • 10:15am - 11:15am
3. Projection as Cultivation: An Ecogothic Examination of Romance of the Forest

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Projection as Cultivation: An Ecogothic Examination of Romance of the Forest
Conrad Schaffer Vignati
Faculty mentor: Miriam Wallace
New College of Florida

Gothic literature often uses spaces as abstractions, a projected “psychic landscape” in which the intentions of the characters resonate with a setting that responds to their intimate desires and fears. In doing so, the Gothic created cultural touchstones that are still effective today. One such sign is the forest, a space included in a narrative to serve the needed function. This paper examines how Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest frames that titular nonhuman realm, and how it relates to gendered perceptions of power. Her forest shifts between an anthropomorphized entity and a static space — it is both an artistic representation of nature that elevates the characters into sublime terror, or a game park, something to be cultivated through human control. In either case, Radcliffe identifies the dangers of the forest as an extension of male failure, and strains to locate a reconciliation of nature through property lines.

Conrad Schaffer Vignati is an English major at New College of Florida, currently working on his undergraduate thesis, an ecocritical examination of Gothic forests. His research interests include 18th and 19th century British literature and culture, environmental and ecological theory, storytelling, and intersectional approaches in critical theory.

Saturday April 27, 2019 10:15am - 11:15am EDT
HSB 207