A British modernist historian, Peter Stansky, posits that E. M. Forster's 'continuing affectionate friendship with Syed Ross Masood set him on the course that led ultimately to his writing A Passage to India'. Forster utilizes the word 'queer' to describe not only the scene but also his characters, and then, when he does, he most often refers to Adela Quested or Mrs Moore. The chapter focuses on Quested, an oversimplified character who, within hours of her arrival to Chandrapore, sets herself apart as 'queer' compared to the Anglo-Indians. She does so because she does not understand the rules of the colonised land; both she and Mrs Moore actually want to talk to and become friends with the natives. Both women underestimate the power that the Gothic landscape will have to permanently change their lives.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book demonstrates that incest was representative of a range of interests crucial to writers of the Gothic, often women or homosexual men who adopted a critical stance in relation to the heteronormative patriarchal world. Incest, a sexual act associated with transgression, violations of power and violence, has readily been conflated with sexual violence in Gothic scholarship and consigned to one of two gendered plots. Sexuality, questions of ownership, inheritance, women's subjugation to male authority, laws of coverture and primogeniture and issues concerning gender roles pervade Gothic works from the mid-eighteenth century on. The incest thematic as employed by women writers in the early modern period is shown to be transgressively endogamic in Maureen Quilligan's excellent work on incest in Elizabethan England.
There are several problems that usually emerge in scholarship examining representations of father-daughter incest in the Gothic, even in works by scholars whose goal is to lay bare the feminist themes that are central to the genre. Principal among these is that representations of father-daughter incest often cause works to be placed in the gendered subgenre of Female Gothic and to be viewed through a lens predicated on this generic division. This chapter examines the incestuous relationships between fathers and daughters in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Ann Radcliffe's The Romance of the Forest and Mary Shelley's Matilda and the texts' attendant scholarship. These three works have been selected in order to compare the way that incest is rendered in a representative chronology of Gothic texts beginning with what has been traditionally defined as the original Gothic novel.