‘Spare the rod spoil the child.’
Not exactly PC in today's world and I would not condone corporal punishment in any form, but the essential moral of this book is, we have a spoilt brat who has been grossly indulged by her parents. Victoria blames her behaviour on the bad example of her mother, which is a symptom of her own selfish nature, in not wishing to take responsibility for her own actions. She demonstrates a lack of conscience when pursuing the desires of her heart and a proud and haughty nature.
Like many novels of this time the modern reader may find there is an excess of emotion. Everything is felt passionately with rage, anger, pride, fear and despair. The emphasis on emotion in comparison to the reason and philosophy of Berenza is a reaction against the Enlightenment which preceded it.
The book was criticised when published as being a poor imitation of Matthew Lewis’s The Monk. It lacks the sophistication of The Monk and the Gothic elements are less pronounced. There is a reference to ghosts, nightmares and anti-Catholic sentiment, but they are not substantial. The grandeur of the landscape owes more to Ann Radcliffe and Burke's idea of sublime terror.
As a book it is an interesting read from the perspective of should a lady really be writing such books. From most contemporary male perspectives, the answer is no.
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