Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Rivka Swenson


“Judging the Rational and the Dead: Ann Radcliffe and Feminist Theology” argues Radcliffe’s first three novels, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne (1789), A Sicilian Romance (1790), and The Romance of the Forest (1791), show a progression of feminist theology informed by the late eighteenth-century British religious movement of Rational Dissent. The thesis attempts to complicate and extend Radcliffe scholarship by moving away from fractured critical discourses and into more cohesive readings of Radcliffe that include feminist and theological interpretations of her work. Of particular interest to the project are Radcliffe’s views on the circumscribed nature of women’s existence within British notions of church and state. The thesis does more than attempt to note Radcliffe’s objections to the circumscribed nature of women in British society; it also seeks to explore the potential solutions offered by a feminist theology that rejects establishment religious hierarchies in favor of a more Unitarian system.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011