Political violence in the fiction of William Trevor
, is the long history of Irish struggle against
England, a struggle in which Marianne sees Anglo-Irish Willie (and later herself)
as being on the side of the Irish. From her somewhat distanced English perspective, Marianne articulates her sense of colonial consequences, describing a kind
of original sin from which the misery of the present has flowed: ‘We will never
escape the shadows of destruction that pervade Kilneagh’. Kilneagh is ‘like some
uncharted region, fearsome and unknown’ (FF 124), turned into a version of
the haunted house of Gothictradition. In a
copy of Richard Greenow was found at Mary Ward’s bedside in
1920 and that “it was probably one of the last books she
read”. It cannot have given her any pleasure’. 37
The place of ‘Farcical History of Richard
Greenow’ within the gothictradition of psychic dualism should be
taken seriously. Pearl functions as a kind of vampire or succubus,
gradually taking over Dick’s rational faculties; but the
, 1990a, 23)
This allusion to Mary Shelley’s own birth, which caused the death
of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, helps develop the Frankenstein
parallels and Frank, like Shelley’s monster, is the result of an experiment
to create an artificial man.10 Sage’s incorporation of Banks’s book into
the gothictradition, however, does not address the important ways
in which the novel invokes the gothic only to distance itself from
it. Whereas Shelley’s monster resembles Rousseau’s natural man
and is a Romantic being capable of sensitive feelings and virtuous
to the Faust narrative, as articulated in Marlowe’s seventeenth-century drama or in Goethe’s early nineteenth-century reworking of the story – as they are in the tradition of the Prometheus myth, which culminates in a novel about the seductions and dangers of hubristic scientific discovery in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . And such an anxiety of knowing is central to the larger gothictradition that is exemplified, for example, in the epistemophobic orientalism of William Beckford’s Vathek (1780), or, rather differently, in the structurally perverse anti
Generic experimentation in My Life as a Man, The Counterlife, The Facts, Deception and Operation Shylock
Southern Gothictradition exemplified by Flannery O’Connor or
with the modernism of William Faulkner. Others still, such as E.L.
Doctorow, Jane Smiley and Tim O’Brien, seem to inhabit a different
genre with each new work.
In spite of this diversity, critical debate has tended to revolve around
a dichotomy (perhaps more perceived than actual) between realism
and postmodernism. For enthusiasts of postmodernism, the fiction
of writers such as Pynchon and DeLillo is innovative, challenging,
subversive, philosophically profound and intellectually rich; according
102 Burns, No Bones, 292.
103 Burns, No Bones, 285.
104 Burns, No Bones, 293.
105 Burns, No Bones, 294.
106 Burns, No Bones, 299.
Gothic inheritance and the Troubles
Burns, No Bones, 315.
Burns, No Bones, 252.
Burns, No Bones, 258.
Jim Hansen, Terror and Irish Modernism: The GothicTradition from
Burke to Beckett (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press,
2009), p. 7.
111 Malachi O’Doherty, ‘Don’t talk about the Troubles.’ Fortnight 457
112 O’Doherty, ‘Don’t talk about the
‘Bluebeard’ of a husband she mistakenly marries,
all draw from preceding and popular forms of fiction from the centuryold suitor of Gothictradition, through Edgewoth, Burney, and Austen, to
the inheritance woes of Dickens, Trollope, and Eliot. The novel’s innovation resides not in its themes, but in the ways that it handles them. The
psychologically sadistic husband Gilbert Osmond, for example, does not
drown (the usual mode of death in the novel for the heartless aristocratic
wastrel – see Steerforth or Grandcourt). Neither does Isabel run away
with Caspar Goodwood or
‘Transformational objects’ and the Gothic fiction of Richard Marsh
the Gothic fiction of Marsh
Marsh’s three novels belong to a Gothictradition stretching back to
Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto that identifies objects as sites of insecurity
and threat. However, Marsh’s work differs from this tradition not only in
his depiction of mutual transformation between individuals and objects,
in which the form of the object is sponsored by an aspect of the individual as much as his/her selfhood is transformed by the object, but also and
more profoundly in the de-structuring capacities of his objects. While
experiments like the royal tombs in Westminster Abbey and the flamboyant Nonsuch Palace were financed by Henry VII and VIII, but a broader impetus for architectural innovation seems not to have taken place until political culture and social change created a mid-sixteenth-century ‘classical moment’ of self-fashioning by the new Tudor courtier class. 5 A strong Gothictradition, however, took post-Perpendicular forms in such features as staircases and bay windows. Two late medieval trends, the widespread application of battlements and the growth in number or size of towers