Loving in Plain Sight: Amish Romance Novels as Evangelical Gothic

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.18061/1811/57706

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Title: Loving in Plain Sight: Amish Romance Novels as Evangelical Gothic
Creators: Cordell, Sigrid
Keywords: Amish romance novels
the Gothic
Beverly Lewis
Issue Date: 2013-10
Publisher: Ohio State University. Libraries
Citation: Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies v. 1, no. 2 (2013), p. 1-16.
Abstract: This article examines Beverly Lewis’s highly popular trilogy The Heritage of Lancaster County, a series often cited as inspiring the Amish romance novel trend. Although Lewis did not invent the Amish romance, the high visibility that her work enjoys in the media, and the conventional wisdom that she was the first to develop the genre, means that subsequent novels are necessarily responding to and adapting Lewis’s texts. Looking at Lewis’s trilogy as a foundational text, this article analyzes the ways in which it draws on Gothic conventions to perform evangelical cultural work (to use Jane Tompkins’s phrase). Considering the trilogy as a Gothic text within the context of Christian publishing highlights the ways in which it functions as an extension of evangelical outreach: the narratives both celebrate Amish community values and adherence to tradition while using Gothic tropes of confinement and escape to emphasize the idea that the Amish are narrow-minded and overly rigid. Ultimately, this article argues that Lewis’s novels use the Gothic to argue that the antidote to Amish rigidity is evangelicalism.
URI: https://doi.org/10.18061/1811/57706
ISSN: 2471-6383
Rights: The author retains copyright ownership of this article. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the author.
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