In Ann Radcliffes The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, the sublime in nature represents a benevolent patriarchy which works in tandem with ‘the heightened awareness’ that characterizes sensibility in order to educate and empower Emily St Aubert and Ellena di Rosalba. Both of these forces work symbiotically within the gazes (read ‘spectatorship’) of the heroines. Conversely, these forces are threatening to the heroes, in that they limit Valancourts and Vivaldis ability to gain their desires and to influence the events surrounding their beloveds. This gender-based disparity reflects eighteenth century familial politics and suggests that, despite Radcliffes apparent protofeminism in giving her heroines agency over the patriarchal weapons of the sublime and sensibility, her reinventing these forces to empower her heroines at the expense of the heroes actually buys into and supports patriarchal ideals of the roles of difference and sameness in heterosexual desire.
The existing canon of scholarship on Dracula asserts that the sexually aggressive
female vampires are representative of the New Woman, and thus are evidence of
Stoker’s conservative reaction to changing gender roles. In contrast, this
article offers a reinterpretation Dracula in the light of key writings of the
New Woman movement which sought to demonize the Victorian marriage market
because of its creation of a class of female parasites: idle middle-class woman
entirely dependent on fathers and husbands. A close reading of key sections of
the novel demonstrates that the female vampires are characterized as
traditionally subordinate Victorian housewives, in contrast to the positive
presentation of Mina Harker as a New Woman. This reading reveals a text that
argues that work for women is the only antidote to the degeneration inherent in
traditional womanhood, through which women are reduced to nothing more than
their biological functions.
Through an analysis of Dracula, this article will explore some of the hyperbolic rhetoric surrounding drug use and womens place in medical discourse that has, like the Count himself, risen again and again in our culture. It argues that Dracula attempts – through popular metaphors of addiction, shifting terminologies about drug use, and British anxieties about immigration – to make a clear but highly unstable distinction between licit and illicit drug use. In the process, Stoker‘s novel illuminates a complex relationship between middle-class women and the opiates that paradoxically serve as a site of patriarchal oppression and resistance to it.
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.
This essay introduces this special issue on ‘Romanticism and the “New Gothic”’, which contains revisions of essays presented at a special seminar at the 1999 joint conferences of the International Gothic Association (IGA) and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hogle argues that the ‘Gothic’ as a highly counterfeit and generically mixed mode in the eighteenth century was a quite new, rather than revived old, aesthetic which allowed for the disguised projection - or really abjection - of current middle-class cultural fears into symbols that only seemed antiquated, supernatural, or monstrous on the surface. Romantic writers thus faced this mode as a symbolic location where feared anomalies of their own moment could be faced and displaced, and such writers reacted to this possibility using some similar and quite different techniques. Post-Romantic writers, in turn, ranging from Emily Dickinson all the way to the writers and directors of modern films with Gothic elements, have since proceeded to make the Gothic quite new again, in memory of and reaction to Romantic-era uses of the new Gothic. This recurrent remaking of the Gothic comes less from the survival of certain features and more from the cultural purposes of displacing new fears into symbols that recall both the eighteenth-century Gothic and Romantic redactions of it. The papers in this special issue cover different points in this history of a complex relationship among aesthetic modes.
discuss literary texts and scientific knowledge in culturally
The range of issues and case histories which I discuss help
to develop our understanding of the constructions of masculinity during
the period. Such constructions, although staged in different literary,
quasi-scientific, or strictly medical contexts, are united by a shared
concern that the middle-class male had become
substance of what might be regarded as orthodox phrenology across the century. This was the phrenology of the professional and the middleclasses, associated with sober lectures, ostensibly thoughtful rather than polemical journalism, and a putatively liberal tenor of mind that viewed the insights of the pseudoscience as, withal, socially useful, morally improving and educationally expedient. It was a phrenology to which Combe, and educated writers like him, contributed by way of invited lectures, delivered across the breadth of the country, and through discrete
of non-clinical commentary written originally for the educated, primarily middle-class and often Victorian, reader. In contrast to this consensus, The dome of thought seeks to address the absence of a history of the popular consciousness of phrenology and phrenological thought in the specifically British nineteenth century. It is thus not a study of the major practitioners of phrenology, and not a history of the pseudoscience premised only upon a practitioner's understanding of the subject. Rather, this present study contemplates the appearance of both phrenology
takes a number of directions. It
seeks to explore the kind of critical investments made in contemporary
depictions of Goth, in particular constructions of the subculture as
middle-class, Taking it’, and gendered feminine. It also examines
the recycling of Goth style in mainstream fashion and haute
couture, questioning why throughout the 1990s, the Gothic look
always seemed to be coming back
both conscious and unconscious levels, associates the medical profession
with pathologisation. There the failure of medicine represented both an
epistemological failure and a failure of masculinity (or at least
a professional middle-class version of it). One covert anxiety was that
Merrick was too human, and that this proximity between normality and
abnormality had the effect of destabilising the norm (and indeed the