The strength of chosen family in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Gothic short fiction

Ardel Haefele-Thomas in Chapter 2 analyses Elizabeth Gaskell’s pioneering of alternative family ties in her short Gothic fictional texts. Gaskell utilizes the Gothic genre to explore and provide points of escape for women confined within abusive, heteronormative situations. From her understanding of the ways that gender, class and subversions of ‘normative’ heterosexual family structures can function together to create transgressive critiques and narratives, Gaskell finds a place to carry out queer family re-structurings within her Gothic short fiction. Haefele-Thomas explores contemporary queer theory focusing specifically on ideas of transgender and gender queer positionality as well as historic references to famous nineteenth-century cross-dressing cases that may have influenced Elizabeth Gaskell’s thinking about the topic.

in Gothic kinship
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Gothic Studies