The poetic tale of terror
Christabel, The Eve of St Agnes and Lamia
in Gothic writing 1750–1820
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The author argues that the readers should not understand the Gothic as a set of prose conventions, but as a discursive site crossing the genres. He argues that a suppression of this understanding of the Gothic seriously decontextualizes Christabel and its immediate ripostes, The Eve of St Agnes and Lamia. He counters the bias whereby the Gothic is read as a prose genre, a bias not shared by Coleridge, Walter Scott and Byron. They understood poetry to be the most fashionable medium for the Gothic tale of the supernatural. Christabel's status as a Gothic tale of the supernatural is universally accepted. The author argues that The Eve of St Agnes and Lamia establish a polemical conversation with Christabel and the Gothic. In this conversation the Gothic emerges as a language of subjective representation, for that nexus of tropes that includes the self, the body, boundaries, invasion, transgression, repression and desire.

Editor: Robert Miles

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