Narratives of nurture
in Gothic writing 1750–1820
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The typical feature of 'narratives of nurture' is that they are prone to discontinuity, rupture, incompletion. This chapter elaborates on an earlier contention, that the garden becomes a central Gothic topos owing to its peculiarly rich discursive resonance, its ability to raise the ideologically inflected issues of nature/nurture. As a literary structure, the garden typifies a recurring feature of Gothic writing. In discussing the Gothic aesthetic, the chapter argues that the discursive values of the Gothic afforded the basis of a strategy akin to the carnivalesque, where a resistance may be mounted. In assessing Gothic narratives of nurture, it is important to keep gender in mind. In male Gothic what one might call the 'deconstructive tendency of the carnivalesque' is kept in bounds by a psycho-sexual force, by a misogyny generally expressed as woman's monstrous otherness, her 'artificiality'.

Editor: Robert Miles

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