Mahawatte explores George Eliot‘s use of the Gothic in Middlemarch (1871–72) and in particular the literary connections between Dorothea Casaubon and the heroine of the Gothic novel. He argues that Eliot has a conflicting relationship with this figure, at once wanting to satirize her, and yet also deploying Gothic images and resonances to add an authenticity of affect to her social commentary. Using Jerold E. Hogle‘s idea that the Gothic re-fakes what is already read as a copy, Mahawatte presents Dorothea as a quasi-reproduction of Sophia Lee‘s heroines in The Recess; or, A Tale of Other Times (1783–85) and also as part of a Gothic process within a social realist novel.
Daniel Deronda was more socially orientated than it was sensational or popular. Daniel Deronda's slow realisation that he is Jewish is accompanied by tropes usually found in the Gothic novel. To position George Eliot within both a Gothic tradition and under queer investigation might seem surprising, irreverent or, at the very least, anachronistic. It is possible to read Deronda's journey to self-awareness, and to Jewish realisation, as a unique reworking of the vampire narrative and the paranoid male trope. Where there is the Gothic, it seems that there is homosexual panic, and where there is panic there is homosociality. In linking queerness to the Gothic, it is possible to see that both the Gothic and the queer act as a process, or a language that operates within a historical and aesthetic context.