Focusing on the productive sense of recognition that queer theorists have articulated in relation to the Gothic, this article proposes that the relationship which has developed between queer theory and Gothic fiction reveals the significant role the genre has played in the construction of ‘queerness’ as an uncanny condition.
This chapter considers how the Gothic horror text creates an impression of deviant and dangerous sexual possibility. Examining Frankenstein's engagement with nineteenth-century sexual rhetoric, the chapter explores the ways in which the signifying practices of queerness have been written into the signifying practices, or language, of Gothic fiction. Frankenstein is a productive text for discussing modern western culture's tendency to produce the possibility of sexual nonconformity as a Gothic horror story. The sexually tense knowledge/power relationships between characters in Frankenstein encourage a simultaneous sexually 'tense' knowledge/power relationship between the reader and the text. The homosexual connotations and camp sensibilities discernible in film and theatre adaptations from the 1930s onwards indicate that Frankenstein was subject to queer reading long before the advent of academic queer theory. James Whale's Frankenstein (1931) features a coded homosexual subtext.