Bill Kerwin's Reviews > The Old English Baron

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve
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Apr 09, 11

bookshelves: 18th-c-brit, gothic
Read from April 04 to 09, 2011


Not appreciating the pre-camp sensibility of "Otranto," Reeve toned down the supernatural element in the gothic in order to fashion a fiction less baroque and ridiculous than Walpole's. She succeeded, but produced something far inferior: a gothic narrative so staid and so filled with courteous, well-bred characters (even the murderer!)that the reader is completely bored by the time he reaches the end of this very short novel. The denouement (featuring a detailed description of an ad hoc commission of nobles designed--among other things--to resolve a property dispute) is excruciatingly dull, even by the Clara Reeve standard.
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