Concerns of linguistic, cultural and military incursion from France emerge more frequently in the wake of the Seven Years’ War. In the literary arena, one of the ways in which these concerns are marked is through the highly-contested national stakes of chivalry. This essay argues that these national stakes of chivalry are negotiated in the realm of the Gothic romance in a particularly fluid and dynamic manner. Addressing recent critical assumptions about the conservatism inherent in prose treatments of medieval chivalry, the essay explores the possibility that Gothic romance recuperates a more positive version of chivalry in the wake of the famous Burke/Wollstonecraft revolutionary debate of 1790.
This essay argues that Stephen King‘s 2006 novel Cell explores the age of terror with the aid of two concurrent Gothic discourses. The first such discourse belongs to the tradition that Patrick Brantlinger has termed Imperial Gothic. As such, it imagines with the War on Terror that the threat that the (Gothic) Other constitutes is most usefully managed with the help of massive, military violence. The other, and more traditional, Gothic discourse radically imagines such violence as instead a War of Terror. The essay then argues that Cell does not attempt to reconcile these opposed positions to terror. Instead, the novel employs the two Gothic discourses to describe the epistemological rift that terror inevitably creates.