1899 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Clara Reeve

Henry A. Beers, in English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century (1899) 249.



Clara Reeve was the daughter of a clergyman. She lived and died at Ipswich (1725-1803). Walter Scott contributed a memoir of her to Ballantyne's Novelists' Library, in which he defended Walpole's frank use of the supernatural against her criticisms, quoted above, and gave the preference to Walpole's method. She acknowledged that her romance was a "literary descendant of Otranto;" but the author of the latter, evidently nettled by her strictures, described The Old English Baron, as "Otranto reduced to reason and probability," and declared that any murder trial at the Old Bailey would have made a more interesting story. Such as it is, it bridges the interval between its model and the novels of Mrs. Radcliffe, Lewis' Monk (1795), and Maturin's Fatal Revenge, or the Family of Montorio (1807).