Chapter 5 addresses how twelfth-century Church reformers and participants in the English invasion of Ireland also developed a poetics of Irish place to argue for their own entitlement to Ireland. I turn first to Gerald of Wales, whose Topographia and Expugnatio Hibernica show Ireland physically rejecting the ‘unworthy’ Irish from the landscape and embracing English and Welsh settlers, exhorting them to plant themselves in Irish soil. I examine the process by which the identities of Ireland’s invaders are mapped onto the territory and show how a changed Ireland is generated through textual culture, particularly important when in historical reality Ireland resisted full conquest. The chapter then turns to Saint Patrick’s Purgatory in Ireland’s north. Accounts of the Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii were repeatedly copied and translated over several centuries: 150 Latin manuscripts survive, and another 150 codices confirm its translation into virtually every European vernacular. While Patrick’s Purgatory is a site of pilgrimage, its rhetoric nonetheless suggests heroic, crusading conquest of Ireland’s dangerous spaces in which English reformers also became textual heroes. In conclusion, I examine how both Gerald’s works and the Tractatus accomplished the export of an English poetics of Irish space which became highly influential throughout Europe.
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.