This chapter examines various ways
in which first-wave British Gothicfiction ties matriarchal picture
identification to bourgeois ideology to delimit, undermine and reform
aristocratic ideology. Addressing numerous Gothic texts, it attends
particularly to Eleanor Sleath’s The Orphan of the Rhine
(1796), and Louisa Sidney Stanhope’s The Confessional of
paternal authority, lies the maternal
blackness, imagined by the gothic writer as a prison, a torture
chamber. ( 1960 : 112)
This threat of maternal blackness in
the face of a precarious paternal authority is given form from the
earliest Gothicfictions. In Walpole’s The Castle of
Otranto, the Gothic mother, Hippolyta, is exiled by
Critical approaches to Gothic origins usually bear on theme and ideology rather than on textuality. This article argues both that by the side of thematic issues we must carefully examine the forms of Gothic and that, beyond the literary and philosophical, the folk sources of Gothic remain to be acknowledged. Making use of tools familiar to mythographer and folklorist, textual analysis of a passage from the 1831 edition of Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein reveals this novel is built on the traditional narrative structure of the heroic quest; while Victor‘s tragic destiny is shown to result from a deliberate manipulation of traditional patterns.
Numinous Spaces in Gothic, Horror and Science Fiction
This article elucidates an aspect of the formal use Gothic fiction makes of space. It begins by exploring the complex and confusing area in between spaces; after discussing examples of spatial ambiguity from several genres, and briefly outlining some narrative ‘geometries’ employed by Gothic fiction, the article concentrates on a segment from Ann Radcliffe‘s The Italian in order to show how precisely the use of thresholds can elicit numinous terror, and so, in what way the threshold is vital to the construction of Gothic narratives. The discussion of Gothic spaces is rounded off with a close analogy from the field of contemporary mathematics which clarifies Gothic liminalization techniques.
This study maps the influence of the Gothic mode in the Czech postmodern prose,
especially in the novels published at the turn of the millennium: it primarily
concerns books by Václav Vokolek, Miloš Urban and Jan Jandourek.
Through analyticalinterpretative probes into these texts are demonstrated the
main possibilities of the Gothic mode and consequences of its implementation in
the contemporary Czech literature: distortion of the perspective and blurring of
the individual identity, instability of the setting, expression of
civilizational and existential fears. The study illustrates capturing of the key
Gothic themes in the analyzed works of fiction and also the specific
transformation and modification of these topics within individual author
poetics. Special attention is particularly given to specifics of the setting,
often combining typical Gothic topoi, which may be part of seriously intended
opposition of the sacral and the profane, or they can also be presented as
exposed cliché sceneries.
The Garlic Flower in Bram Stoker’s Hermeneutic Garden
This article explores the use of floral symbolism within Gothic fiction of the
fin de siècle. Taking as a basis the language of flower
anthologies popularised throughout the nineteenth century, it investigates how
this notoriously unstable floral language filtered through into the popular
Gothic fiction at the end of the century. Whilst authors of Gothic may have
adhered to existing codes and associations pertaining to particular flowers,
they also destabilised traditional meaning, and introduced a new floral lexicon
into the popular imagination. The article primarily considers Bram Stoker’s
Dracula in an attempt to locate floral significance through
consideration of the production and widely discussed political agenda of the
text. Through a close reading of Dracula’s garlic flower, the
article asks whether there might be a Gothic language of flowers situated within
the narrative that bears comparison with other Gothic fictions of the period and
Sodomy, Abjection and Gothic Fiction in the Early Nineteenth Century
The essay looks at the public vilification of the sodomites exposed in the Vere Street scandal in the early nineteenth‐century and suggests a connection between these acts of violence and the violence that occurs in Gothic fiction of the same period.
Focusing on the productive sense of recognition that queer theorists have articulated in relation to the Gothic, this article proposes that the relationship which has developed between queer theory and Gothic fiction reveals the significant role the genre has played in the construction of ‘queerness’ as an uncanny condition.
The article analyzes the relationship between social laws and the self in Gothic fiction, and argues that contemporary English Gothic fiction enacts the way subjects adhere to social practices and structures. In this scenario, characters are monsters of social conformity and docility. On this basis, Susan Hill‘s The Mist in the Mirror and The Woman in Black can be interpreted as critiques of the masculine quest for identity by means of adherence to the family as institution and habitus. The novels represent this process of ideological adherence by creating a dehistoricized plot and setting haunted by a ghost exerting what Bourdieu calls symbolic violence on the protagonists, and from which women have been absented.
This essay discusses the ways in which different models of historical and social development, and especially of the relationship of the Gothic past to the present, might be seen to structure – and help us now to interpret – eighteenth-century Gothic fiction. It begins with an account of the representation of ‘Gothick days’ in James Beattie‘s poem The Minstrel (1771–4), and then gives an overview of how‘ Scottish’ conjectural histories attributed a pivotal modernizing role to feudalism and chivalry, in some cases defining an exceptional Gothic legacy with particular reference to the agency and influence of women. The essay concludes by suggesting that critical attention to different accounts of social development, and contemporary ‘histories of women’, might help to provide a better literary-historical map of eighteenth-century Gothic fiction, and a richer sense of the cultural and political work that that fiction may have performed.