This article argues that Radcliffe’s novel The Mysteries of Udolpho produces the cognitive and readerly experiences of memory not as absolute but as instrumental, as a tool with which the past can be and is shaped by the interests of the present. In a world where there is no past other than what the present desires it to be, memory exists only rhetorically, only as a pretext that deflects attention away from the interests or ideologies that actually do structure current preoccupation. In this world, the text that appears as memory is always already refracted through the present, always already subject to a kind of amnesia. Ultimately, this article suggests, Radcliffe’s complex articulation of a spatialized—and flattened—topography of memory provides both an alternative gothic historiography and a presaging of the complex narrative forms of the nineteenth-century novel.


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pp. 493-512
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