In Ann Radcliffes The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, the sublime in nature represents a benevolent patriarchy which works in tandem with ‘the heightened awareness’ that characterizes sensibility in order to educate and empower Emily St Aubert and Ellena di Rosalba. Both of these forces work symbiotically within the gazes (read ‘spectatorship’) of the heroines. Conversely, these forces are threatening to the heroes, in that they limit Valancourts and Vivaldis ability to gain their desires and to influence the events surrounding their beloveds. This gender-based disparity reflects eighteenth century familial politics and suggests that, despite Radcliffes apparent protofeminism in giving her heroines agency over the patriarchal weapons of the sublime and sensibility, her reinventing these forces to empower her heroines at the expense of the heroes actually buys into and supports patriarchal ideals of the roles of difference and sameness in heterosexual desire.
Through an analysis of Dracula, this article will explore some of the hyperbolic rhetoric surrounding drug use and womens place in medical discourse that has, like the Count himself, risen again and again in our culture. It argues that Dracula attempts – through popular metaphors of addiction, shifting terminologies about drug use, and British anxieties about immigration – to make a clear but highly unstable distinction between licit and illicit drug use. In the process, Stoker‘s novel illuminates a complex relationship between middle-class women and the opiates that paradoxically serve as a site of patriarchal oppression and resistance to it.
Throughout the nineteenth century, the term ‘uncomfortable houses’ was used to describe properties where restless spirits made life unpleasant for any living persons who tried to claim these supernatural residences as their own. This article uses the idea of ‘uncomfortable houses’ to examine how this ghostly discomfort related to larger cultural issues of economics and class in Victorian Britain. Authors such as Charlotte Riddell and Margaret Oliphant used the haunted house story as a means of social critique which commented on the financial problems facing many lower- and middle-class Victorians. Their stories focus on the moral development of the protagonists and reconciliation through the figure of the ghost, ultimately giving readers the happy endings that many male-authored ghost stories lack. Riddell‘s ‘The Old House in Vauxhall Walk’ and ‘Walnut-Tree House’ and Oliphant‘s ‘The Open Door’ serve as important examples of this ‘suburban Gothic’ literature.
The existing canon of scholarship on Dracula asserts that the sexually aggressive
female vampires are representative of the New Woman, and thus are evidence of
Stoker’s conservative reaction to changing gender roles. In contrast, this
article offers a reinterpretation Dracula in the light of key writings of the
New Woman movement which sought to demonize the Victorian marriage market
because of its creation of a class of female parasites: idle middle-class woman
entirely dependent on fathers and husbands. A close reading of key sections of
the novel demonstrates that the female vampires are characterized as
traditionally subordinate Victorian housewives, in contrast to the positive
presentation of Mina Harker as a New Woman. This reading reveals a text that
argues that work for women is the only antidote to the degeneration inherent in
traditional womanhood, through which women are reduced to nothing more than
their biological functions.
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps‘s Gothic short story Kentucky‘s Ghost (1868) is amongst the most
distinctive of ghost-child narratives to be published in the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. This is owing, foremost, to its unique topographical and social
setting; taking place at sea amongst an all-male crew of mostly lower-class sailors,
rather than in the large suburban or rural house of middle or upper-class families that
were typical of this Anglo-American literary sub-genre. This article considers the
child-figure in Phelpss tale within intersecting frameworks: firstly, within a tradition
of nautical folklore that is integral to producing the tales Gothic tone. Secondly, within
a contemporary context of frequently romanticised depictions of child-stowaways in
literature, but a reality in which they were subjected to horrific abuse. Finally, her
tale is discussed as a reformist piece that, despite its singularities, draws on darker
versions of literary and folkloric dead-child traditions to produce a terrifying tale of
This essay introduces this special issue on ‘Romanticism and the “New Gothic”’, which contains revisions of essays presented at a special seminar at the 1999 joint conferences of the International Gothic Association (IGA) and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Hogle argues that the ‘Gothic’ as a highly counterfeit and generically mixed mode in the eighteenth century was a quite new, rather than revived old, aesthetic which allowed for the disguised projection - or really abjection - of current middle-class cultural fears into symbols that only seemed antiquated, supernatural, or monstrous on the surface. Romantic writers thus faced this mode as a symbolic location where feared anomalies of their own moment could be faced and displaced, and such writers reacted to this possibility using some similar and quite different techniques. Post-Romantic writers, in turn, ranging from Emily Dickinson all the way to the writers and directors of modern films with Gothic elements, have since proceeded to make the Gothic quite new again, in memory of and reaction to Romantic-era uses of the new Gothic. This recurrent remaking of the Gothic comes less from the survival of certain features and more from the cultural purposes of displacing new fears into symbols that recall both the eighteenth-century Gothic and Romantic redactions of it. The papers in this special issue cover different points in this history of a complex relationship among aesthetic modes.
This book charts the vast cultural impact of Charlotte Bronte since the appearance of her first published work, Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. It highlights the richness and diversity of the author's legacy, her afterlife and the continuation of her plots and characters in new forms. The most well known and well regarded of the three sisters during the Victorian period, Charlotte Bronte bequeathed a legacy which is more extensive and more complex than the legacies of Emily Bronte and Anne Bronte. The book shows how Bronte's cultural afterlife has also been marked by a broad geographical range in her consideration of Bronte-related literary tourism in Brussels. It is framed by the accounts of two writers, Elizabeth Gaskell and Virginia Woolf, both of whom travelled to Yorkshire to find evidence of Charlotte Bronte's life and to assess her legacy as an author. The book focuses upon Bronte's topical fascination with labour migration for single, middle-class women in the light of the friendship and correspondence with Mary Taylor. Recent works of fiction have connected the Brontes with the supernatural. The book explores Bronte biodrama as a critically reflexive art: a notable example of popular culture in dialogue with scholarship, heritage and tourism. The Professor and Jane Eyre house the ghost of an original verse composition, whose inclusion allows both novels to participate together in a conversation about the novel's capacity to embody and sustain a lyric afterlife. A survey of the critical fortunes of Villette is also included.
The global financial crisis of the early twenty-first century focused attention on the processes that sustain the excesses of corporate capitalism. This book gives an account of the role played by literature in human subjectivity and identity under the working conditions of late-capitalism as these affect the well-being of specialist, middle-class and public sector professionals. It explores how the organisation struggles to reconcile the flexibility and responsiveness characteristic of modern business with the unity and stability needed for a coherent image. Next, an examination of business survivor manuals addressing the needs of employees failing to cope with time-pressure and the required transformation into perfect new economy workers discovers their use of appealing narrative principles. The book covers the theoretical foundations on which assumptions about the subjectivity and identity of the professional middle class have been made, including the ideological pressures and contradictions. It also investigates satisfying work more fully through analysis of popular practical instruction books on cookery and horticulture. The book considers how organic activities involving slow time, such as horticulture, cookery and the craft of writing about them, give a strong cultural message concerning the current organisation of time, work satisfaction and relationships. In particular, it deals with how the human feels attuned to balance, continuity and interconnectedness through the cyclical patterns and regulated rhythms of slower evolutionary change evident in natural systems. The nature of the autobiographic text is also considered in the book.
’ because she
believed that humane ethical attitudes, rather than blind market forces,
should govern social relationships (see also Hopkins, 1931: 60).
Mary Barton develops a contrast between two ethical systems, that
of the working class, based on caring and co-operation, and that of
the middleclass, based on ownership, authority and the law. The
dichotomy is similar to the conventional gender-role division, and
Elizabeth Gaskell has been criticised (e.g. Lucas, l966: 174) for trying
evade the question of class-struggle with an inappropriate domestic
ethic. She had
’s depiction of social
hierarchy. Both the affluent upper-class Sir Rupert Lisle and the poor
lower-class James Arnold begin as unappealing children with several disagreeable, and apparently hereditary, personality traits. They also happen
to resemble each other to the extent that the villain, Major Varney, kidnaps Rupert and persuades James’s disreputable father to let him present
James, some years later, to Rupert’s mother Claribel as her missing son
in order to take advantage of Rupert’s inheritance. Rupert is taken away
to be raised as an orphan in a middle-class