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Written by: Charlotte Dacre
Edited by: Adriana Craciun

Series: Broadview Editions
1st Edition

Publication Date: January 01, 1997
303pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551111469 / 1551111462
Volume: 0

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The protagonist of Charlotte Dacre's best known novel, Zofloya, or the Moor (1806) is unique in women's Gothic and Romantic literature, and has more in common with the heroines of Sade or M.G. Lewis than with those of Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte Smith or Jane Austen.  No heroine of Radcliffe or Austen could exult, as Victoria does in this novel, that "there is certainly a the infliction of prolonged torment."

The sexual desires and ambition of Dacre's protagonist, Victoria, drive her to seduce, torture and murder.  Victoria is inspired to greater criminal and illicit acts by a seductive Lucifer, disguised as a Moor, before she too is plunged into an abyss by her demon lover.  The text's unusual evocations of the female body and feminine subject are of particular interest in the context of the history of sexuality and of the body; after embarking on a series of violent crimes, Victoria's body actually begins to grow stronger and decidedly more masculine.

Among the documents included as appendices to this volume are a selection of Dacre's poetry and excerpts from Bienville's Nymphomania,  a medical treatise of the time aimed at a lay audience that focuses largely on the dangerous powers of women's imagination; inspired by improper novels, it is alleged that women may plunge into madness, violence and deathmuch as does the protagonist of Zofloya herself.


"Through Victoria, the femme fatale heroine of her powerful Gothic novel, Charlotte Dacre revels in the uninhibited expression of female desire; for sexual consummation, for psychological and political power, for religious transgression. This novel is superbly edited and introduced by Adriana Craciun." - Anne K. Mellor, UCLA

"Like other editions in this fine series, this one provides an informative critical introduction, as well as several appendixes featuring notable sources for Dacre's novel and selections from the reviews it received in 1806." - Nineteenth-Century Literature

Adriana Craciun, formerly of the University of California at Davis, now teaches in the English Department at the University of Nottingham.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]



Charlotte Dacre: A Brief Chronology

A Note on the Text


Appendix A: From Nymphomania

Appendix B: Select Contemporary Reviews of Zofloya

Appendix C: Poems from Dacre's Hours of Solitude

Appendix D: The Dæmon of Venice

Select Bibliography

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1997 • 303pp • Paperback • 9781551111469 / 1551111462

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.