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Chris Baldick and Robert Mighall have argued rather convincingly that ‘Gothic Criticism’ is in need of an overhaul. I revisit their controversial article through an analysis of Oscar Wilde’s parody of the Gothic and of scholarship, ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ In this tale of creative criticism, Wilde’s hero, Cyril Graham, invents the character of Willie Hughes to prove a theory about Shakespeare’s sonnets. Contrary to Baldick and Mighall, I argue that Gothic criticism might do well to take its cue from its object of study. Plunging deep into the abyss, abandoning pretentions of knowing fact from fiction, natural from supernatural, I whole-heartedly - momentarily - consider the ‘Willie Hughes theory’ and ‘I will take up the theory where Cyril Graham left it and I will prove to the world that he was right’.

Gothic Studies
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Gothic in Contemporary Popular Culture

This brief introduction to the special issue underscores the relative lack of attention to popular culture in academic study of the Gothic. It places the essays that follow in context, identifying common arguments and themes.

Gothic Studies
The Monk as Prolepsis

Though criticism of the Gothic has recently been charged with reproducing its object of study, the tendency to Gothicize the Gothic can be traced at least as far back as the late eighteenth century. One remarkable example of this trend is the critical fortune of Matthew Gregory Lewis. Through the figure of ‘Monk’ Lewis, he was identified not only as creator of his novel but with his villain, Monk Ambrosio. This conflation in turn yields insight into the other well-known fact of his reception, the vociferous, if not entirely universal, condemnation of The Monk. Lewis‘s novel more than simply provided reviewers with a source of outrage; it appears to have subjected them to their worst fear for Gothic readers, textual influence, dictating the narrative of their own responses. Moreover, by reproducing the novels characters and plot, contemporary reviews map out ways in which The Monk supplied a Gothic tale that would prove ultimately inescapable in two centuries of Lewis‘s reception history.

Gothic Studies
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The papers in this volume consider Gothic Ex/Changes, a concept at the heart of the essentially hybrid mode of Gothic, which constantly challenges prevailing orthodoxies. Papers foreground the confusion of boundaries and definitions of the human. A number take this examination of the hybrid into the realm of form and genre, including music and historiography. The analysis of Gothic in the collection demonstrates the way in which Gothic criticism has extended the subversive role of Gothic texts into the academy. It might be that as part of the ongoing process of change and exchange with a range of theoretical approaches, we are entering the period of ‘postGothic studies.’

Gothic Studies
Representations of Lower-Class Voices in Ann Radcliffe’s Novels

This paper investigates lower-class voices within the context of anti-Gothic criticism, using Ann Radcliffe’s novels and early Gothic critic Joseph Addison’s essays to highlight the ways in which Radcliffe reassigns value to the Gothic aesthetic. It further emphasizes Radcliffe’s reconfiguration of domestic roles as she positions patriarchal figures as anti-Gothic critics, the heroine as reader of gothic narratives, and lowerclass voices and tales as gothic texts. The Mysteries of Udolpho and Romance of the Forest subvert critical discourse and its motif of servants’ contagious irrationality. In Radcliffe’s novels, ‘vulgar’ narratives as superstitious discourse do not spread fear to susceptible heroines, embodiments of bourgeois virtue, but demonstrate the ways in which fear is a construct of patriarchal discourse. Servants and country people, in turn, construct a pedagogy for reading gothic texts that permit heroines to deconstruct metaphors of ghostly haunting embedded in their tales and resist patriarchal hegemony and interpretative authority over gothic texts.

Gothic Studies

‘habit change’. So can the gothic. Like other ‘technologies of gender’, the gothic has developed specific narrative processes of contextualising experience; however, they have so far been marginal in both feminist and gothic criticisms. 1 This might be because the gothic is the genre of negativities, of the un- real, the anti -rational, the im moral. It thus presents a sharp

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
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Defining the ecoGothic

trends, beginning with a British tradition, moving through a Canadian context, and then through a specifically American model of the ecoGothic, before concluding with Deckard’s discussion of a possible global context which could overcome national variations. Lisa Kröger, in ‘Panic, paranoia and pathos: ecocriticism in the eighteenth-century Gothic novel’, argues that an overview of Gothic criticism would

in Ecogothic
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Incest and beyond

contemporary concerns – become visible. Instead of attempting to assert a new narrative on incest in the Gothic, it seems more profitable to make use of a broad and flexible approach towards analysis that can in turn be applied to other generic conventions and the genre as a whole and avoids the danger of becoming entrenched within the sometimes claustrophobic narrative of Gothic

in Gothic incest

place’, and to her desire to leave it. Chapter 1 unfolds the gothic contextualisation of ‘experience’ related to this female space. Two more important terms from traditional gothic criticism address the trajectory of gothic horror and female space: ‘excess’ and ‘escape’. They characterise the challenges with which gothicism has always confronted forms of enclosure: gothicists early noted the generic

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions
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like to pursue is the extension of gendered gothic criticism into the realm of feminist semiotic thinking and contemporary culture criticism. One of the most important metaphors for me will be that of the house. The implications here are threefold: the well-known gothic stock device, the haunted house; its extension into Henry James’s famous critical term, the house of fiction; and its gendered

in Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions