Cashiering the gothic tradition
in Dissolute characters
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By focusing mainly on Sheridan Le Fanu, this chapter deals with a Victorian novelist of Irish birth and French background who utilised English, Welsh and Irish settings in his fiction. Le Fanu has been persistently aligned with a so-called Irish gothic tradition, inaugurated by Charles Robert Maturin and rendered notorious by Bram Stoker whose Dracula successfully transferred to the twentieth century and the snuff movie. The chapter also discusses the historical forces inscribed in Le Fanu's distinctive non-affiliation to the doubtful gothic tradition. In Le Fanu's recurrent character, Richard Marston, there is perhaps a nervous impersonation of Vautrin. Le Fanu's relation to his distinguished French contemporary raises far more engaging problems than those of a merely convenient tradition of Irish Gothicism.

Dissolute characters

Irish literary history through Balzac, Sheridan Le Farm, Yeats and Bowen

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