Karli Martin, et al.
§ Radcliffe introduces the reader to the notion of travel as a form of medicinal therapy (p. 25)
In Radcliffe’s novel travel encourages a more active engagement with nature. This suggests if nature can reflect the human psychology then perhaps it can affect human physicality.
§ Travel also represents the happier passions of St. Aubert through botany exploration.
§ Travel in the novel can also be interpreted as an ascendance into nature, creating a spiritual union whereby nature takes on an active agency with the characters (Example p. 36)
§ Travel is also viewed as an opportunity to meet “the stranger” (Example p. 34,35)
In Coleridge’s poem Frost at Midnight the narrator meets “the stranger” (who affects the main character), in passive contemplation of the natural element of fire. However, in Radcliffe’s novel “the stranger” is introduced while the main characters are actively engaging in the effort of travel/nature. Since the stranger can be viewed as a catalyst of some sort in both these instances, are certain situational and psychological components necessary for meeting “the stranger” and causing the catalyst event, whatever that may be, dependent upon the active or passive state of the narrator/characters?
Paintings of French 18th Century Nature
French, 1732 – 1806
The Swing, probably c. 1765
Samuel H. Kress Collection