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James Uden

Scholars of eighteenth-century literature have long seen the development of the Gothic as a break from neoclassical aesthetics, but this article posits a more complex engagement with classical imitation at the origins of the genre. In Horace Walpole’s formative Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto, his Gothic drama The Mysterious Mother, and in the curiosities in his villa, classical elements are detached from their contexts and placed in startling and strange juxtapositions. His tendency towards the fragmentation of ancient culture, frequently expressed through the imagery of dismemberment, suggests an aesthetic not of imitation, but of collection. Moreover, rather than abandoning or ignoring the classical, Walpole reconfigures literary history to demonstrate elements of monstrosity and hybridity already present in Greek and Roman texts.

Gothic Studies
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Botany and Empiricism in The Mysteries of Udolpho
Rebecca Addicks-Salerno

In The Mysteries of Udolpho, characters practice science in home laboratories, libraries, green houses and gardens, using observation, instruments, and books to study botany, astronomy, and chemistry. By integrating these moments of everyday science into her novels - and making them integral to the development of her heroines - Ann Radcliffe presents a landscape in which both reason and sensibility are enlisted to gather and process information and create meaning in a way that echoed the popular scientific discourse of the day. To date, there has been no sustained study of Radcliffe’s incorporation of scientific practice and rhetoric into her Gothic novels. By looking closely at the scientific engagement within her texts, we can broaden the basis for understanding her work as a part of the broader culture that not only included, but was in many ways predicated upon the shifting landscape of science at the end of the eighteenth century.

Gothic Studies
Nation, History, Gender
James Watt

This essay discusses the ways in which different models of historical and social development, and especially of the relationship of the Gothic past to the present, might be seen to structure – and help us now to interpret – eighteenth-century Gothic fiction. It begins with an account of the representation of ‘Gothick days’ in James Beattie‘s poem The Minstrel (1771–4), and then gives an overview of how‘ Scottish’ conjectural histories attributed a pivotal modernizing role to feudalism and chivalry, in some cases defining an exceptional Gothic legacy with particular reference to the agency and influence of women. The essay concludes by suggesting that critical attention to different accounts of social development, and contemporary ‘histories of women’, might help to provide a better literary-historical map of eighteenth-century Gothic fiction, and a richer sense of the cultural and political work that that fiction may have performed.

Gothic Studies
Ed Cameron

Ed Cameron‘s essay offers a Lacanian interpretation of the development of the eighteenth-century Gothic novel. Tracing the movement from Horace Walpole to Ann Radcliffe and Mathew Lewis, the essay argues that the Gothic supernatural machinery figures that which is immanent yet inaccessible to the narrative structure. Reading the supernatural as a literary delimitation of the excessive enjoyment of the Lacanian symbolic order, Cameron illustrates how the different manner by which each novelist relegates his or her specific use of the supernatural corresponds to different psychoanalytically recognized psychopathological structures.

Gothic Studies
The Case of The Castle Spectre
Lauren Fitzgerald

Unlike Romantic authorship, the Gothic author has long been identified with unoriginality. A foundational moment in this association can be found in the reception of the original Gothic plagiarist, Matthew Lewis. Critics not only condemned Lewis for apparently usurping other authors property in The Castle Spectre but also did so by casting him as his own usurping villain. This parallel between Gothic conventions and critical language suggests that the Gothic might have played a crucial role in the history of our concepts of intellectual property, and particularly in the development of the now-familiar figure of the criminalized, and vilified, plagiarist.

Gothic Studies
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Food and Death in Stoker‘s Novel
David Del Principe

I undertake a nonanthropocentric discussion of vampirism in Dracula, employing an EcoGothic approach to examine how the relation between the consumption of nonhuman flesh and blood reflects the evolving meaning of species, nation, and gender in nineteenth-century European society. I argue that flesh consumption plays an important role in the development of nutritional allegories and nonhuman vampirism. I show how Jonathan Harker‘s adherence, and the Counts resistance, to the dominant, meat-eating ideology destablise the carnal borderline between the species and how the distinctions between carnivorism and cannibalism trope the nonhuman and unhuman bodies as specular sites of death and horror.

Gothic Studies
Sandro Jung

The essay explores Ann Radcliffe‘s complex notion of sensibility in The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and considers the relationship between the servant class and the young Emily St Aubert. It is argued that the servants’ deployment of the comic Gothic moderates and qualifies Emily‘s heightened sensibility and facilitates her fashioning herself as a woman whose actions are informed by a working together of sensibility and reason, rather than an unquestioning trust in superstition. The comic mode, in that regard, serves as an important element in the development of Emily‘s personality and highlights the dangers of too excessive an indulgence of refined sensibility.

Gothic Studies
Dominic Janes

In the early gothic literature of the eighteenth century danger lurked in the darkness beneath the pointed arches of gothic buildings. During the nineteenth century, there was a progressive, although never complete, dislocation of gothic literary readings from gothic architecture. This article explores a phase in that development through discussion of a series of dark illustrations produced by Hablot Knight Browne to illustrate novels by Charles Dickens. These show the way in which the rounded arches of neo-classical architecture were depicted in the mid-nineteenth century as locales of oppression and obscurity. Such depictions acted, in an age of political and moral reform, to critique the values of the system of power and authority that such architecture represented.

Gothic Studies
Melissa Edmundson

Throughout the nineteenth century, the term ‘uncomfortable houses’ was used to describe properties where restless spirits made life unpleasant for any living persons who tried to claim these supernatural residences as their own. This article uses the idea of ‘uncomfortable houses’ to examine how this ghostly discomfort related to larger cultural issues of economics and class in Victorian Britain. Authors such as Charlotte Riddell and Margaret Oliphant used the haunted house story as a means of social critique which commented on the financial problems facing many lower- and middle-class Victorians. Their stories focus on the moral development of the protagonists and reconciliation through the figure of the ghost, ultimately giving readers the happy endings that many male-authored ghost stories lack. Riddell‘s ‘The Old House in Vauxhall Walk’ and ‘Walnut-Tree House’ and Oliphant‘s ‘The Open Door’ serve as important examples of this ‘suburban Gothic’ literature.

Gothic Studies
Kate Newell

Looking to a range of illustrated editions, including those illustrated by Nino Carbe (1932), Lynd Ward (1934), Everett Henry (1934), Bernie Wrightson (1983) and Barry Moser (1984), this chapter considers the method by which illustrations impact on our reading of Frankenstein, and how they expand the visual lexicon of Frankenstein established by stage and film adaptations. This chapter argues that visual and narrative similarities across successive illustrated editions foster cultural consensus as to what ‘counts’ as Frankenstein, even as variations in illustrators’ style and emphasis result in editions with very different visual and ideological messages. This chapter posits that the consistencies and variations evident across successive illustrated editions matter less than their cumulative contribution to the Frankenstein adaptation network.

in Adapting Frankenstein