‘The supposed incipiency of mental disease’
Guilt, regret and suicide in three ghost stories by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
in Suicide and the Gothic
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact manchesterhive@manchester.ac.uk for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

In recent years, J. Sheridan Le Fanu's ghost-story collection In a Glass Darkly (1871) has been interpreted through its Gothic, medical and theological contexts. Yet the focus of these disparate literary and cultural discourses at the moment of death and – more pointedly – in the enactment of self-annihilation has never been explored. The first three narratives in the collection, ‘Green Tea’, ‘The Familiar’ and ‘Mr Justice Harbottle’, depict troubled, indeed persecuted, individuals – a diffident clergyman, a retired naval officer, a notorious and corrupt hanging judge – whose lives end prematurely following a personal contemplation of past actions known to themselves, but not to their contemporaries. This chapter will consider the deteriorating mental states of the Reverend Jennings and Captain Barton, the respective protagonists of ‘Green Tea’ and ‘The Familiar’, and the retrospective account which charts the final days of the unfortunate Mr Justice Harbottle. All three stories amply illustrate the complex relationship between introspection and self-destruction in the persecutory tradition of Gothic fiction.


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 51 33 0
Full Text Views 16 1 0
PDF Downloads 4 3 0