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Robert Kiely contends that the faults in construction and tone that are associated with the fiction of the Romantic period are not mere aesthetic inadequacies but signs of a major intellectual conflict that has continued to manifest itself even into the twentieth century. In his Introduction the author discusses how the English novel—grounded in concrete reality and conventional sentiment—became a strangely divided genre under the influence of Romantic concepts of art, nature, and the self. The book offers detailed analyses of twelve novels, encompassing the Gothic school of Horace Walpole and Ann Radcliffe; the orientalism of Beckford; the political romanticism of Godwin; the combination of terror and eroticism in works by Lewis, Maturin, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; the mock romanticism of Austen and Peacock; a mysterious murder tale by James Hogg; and two Romantic classics—Waverley and Wuthering Heights.