Embedded and Embodied: The Cognition of Movement in A Sicilian Romance
Oliver, Erica Paige
Ann Radcliffe’s second novel—A Sicilian Romance—is often derided as an ‘immature’ and ‘directionless’ narrative; this essay seeks to complicate these evaluations by viewing the text through the lens of embodied cognition and elucidating the philosophic project present in A Sicilian Romance. In approaching the text through literary cognitive studies, we can see that A Sicilian Romance is philosophically occupied with the generative possibilities of mobility. Rather than reading Radcliffe’s intense and world involving depictions of exploration and flight as moments of terror, I look instead for the embodied and embedded cognition that is generated through these particular mobile (and spatially excessive) passages. In offering a rereading of A Sicilian Romance that deemphasizes the socio-political issues raised in this text, I leave room to evaluate movement as a space of thought. By centering spatialized movement as cognition, Radcliffe’s directionless plot is demystified and a philosophic commentary on female mobility is revealed. Thus, this essay reframes the continuous and world-situated movement in A Sicilian Romance as a philosophic experiment with feminist potential.