This article seeks to provide an account of the political biases at stake in the conceptualisation of medieval English history in Ethelwina, Or The House of Fitz-Auburne (1799), the first fiction of the prolific Gothic romancer-turned-Royal Body Guard T. J. Horsley, Curties. Having considered Curties‘s portrayal of the reign of King Edward III in the narrative in relation to formal historiographies of the period, the article turns to address the politics of Curties‘s appropriation of Shakespeare‘s Hamlet.
Postmodern appropriations of Gothic romance by Angela Carter in The Passion of the New Eve or in Sexing the Cherry would recuperate its ambulatory, wildly phantasmatic turns as a vehicle for lesbian-feminist love, desire and sexual politics. This chapter examines how perverse it would be to situate alongside the heteronormative ideals of fictions such as The Mysteries of Udolpho and Clermont those romances, often associated with the male tradition in 1790s Gothic. They were fictions where the desires of the father are subjected to a range of queer representations. The reconfiguration of the laws of marriage encompassed by Michel Foucault's shift from ancient alliance to modern sexuality necessitates the phantasmatic construction of the perverse father of particularly queer rather than heterosexual enjoyments. As Gothic writing itself attests, the body of the Catholic was sexualised throughout the eighteenth century in decidedly queer ways.