As I ponder Walpolian and Radcliffean female characterizations, in an Airbus bound for Los Angeles, a prospective couple in a seat behind me attempts pairing. After casual chit-chat, the y-chromosome bearer asserts to a candidate for a computer science master’s program at University of Southern California, how surprising her success is, given that women are generally unsuitable for careers in technology. From his tone, it is likely his intention is a desperate attempt to engage her through provocation. I am astounded by his hubris and cluelessness. At that moment, however, I wonder how the women populating The Italian and Castle of Otranto would react. Matilda, after recovering from her swoon, would respond about duty and accepting her lot in society. After mentioning a constant wind blowing over the battlements, she would declare the predictable “Doubt not my obedience, my dreadful obedience...” followed by “I have suffered a passion to enter my heart without [society’s] avowal
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