Andrew Smith 1
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  • 1 University of Glamorgan
Pathologising the Gothic
The Elephant Man, the Neurotic and the Doctor
in Gothic Studies
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Smith argues that the medical memoirs of Sir Frederick Treves can be read as a Gothic narrative. Treves failure to account for Joseph Merrick (aka ‘The Elephant Man’) in scientific terms is supplanted by an attempt to plot Merrick in relation to literary forms, such as the Gothic. Additionally, Treves uses the Gothic in order to suggest the fears of incarceration and threatened male violence felt by an apparently neurotic woman. It therefore becomes possible to read Treves‘ memoirs as a document which reveals both the particular flavour of the Gothic discourse at the end of the nineteenth century and as a critique of medical practice.

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