This book addresses the intriguing incongruity between naming Charles Robert Maturin as a 'well-known' author of the Romantic period and the lack of any real critical analysis of his works in the past thirty years. The central thesis of the book is that Maturin's novels provide the key to a new understanding of Irish national fiction as a peculiarly haunted form of literature. Specifically, it argues that Maturin's too often overlooked body of fiction forcefully underscores the haunting presence of the past and past literary forms in early nineteenth-century Irish literature. It is a presence so often omitted and/or denied in current critical studies of Irish Romantic fiction. The book represents a project of ghost-hunting and ghost-conjuring. It investigates the ways in which Maturin's fourth novel attempts to build on the ruins of the Irish nation by describing the fissures produced by religious sectarianism in the country. The book makes use of the rarely consulted correspondence between Maturin and the publisher Archibald Constable. It does this to emphasise the manner in which Maturin's completion of his novel, Melmoth the wanderer was at all times crowded by, and, indeed, infiltrated with, his work on competing texts. These include books of sermons, Gothic dramas, short stories, and epic poems interspersed with prose narrative.
Family secrets and the Gothic in The Birds of the Innocent Wood and Remembering Light and Stone
This chapter probes Deirdre Madden’s subtle and self-reflexive deployment of Gothic tropes and themes in The Birds of the Innocent Wood and Remembering Light and Stone. It inspects too her affinities with what has been dubbed the female Gothic. Haunting is a central trait associated with the heroines of these texts, their families, and their social and sexual relationships. In particular, the Gothic manifests itself in the form of family secrets and of the uncanny spaces occupied by the protagonists, which have double aspects and are unhomely abodes. The secrets that dog the characters are never fully unlocked and exert their troubling force by persisting in later generations and countermanding the heroines’ attempts to evade them. The Irish lake-land terrain in The Birds of the Innocent Wood and the split and contrary facets of the Umbrian town, S. Giorgio, in Remembering Light and Stone concretise the unsettling sense of spectral worlds that subtend the everyday. Even though Madden’s figures are beset by the uncanny and feel dislocated as a result, they themselves act as disturbing and alienating presences. They are caught up in realities that are full of doubles and troubling mirror images, but they too bring disequilibrium with them. The compulsive and repetitive cycles linked with the Gothic are allayed to a degree by the conclusion of these novels. Yet they are never fully banished, as the uncanny is an ineluctable feature of existence for Madden’s characters.
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T.S. Eliot and Gothic hauntings in Waugh’s A Handful of Dust and Barnes’s Nightwood
Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik
Unreal cities and undead legacies: T.S. Eliot
and Gothichauntings in Waugh’s A Handful
of Dust and Barnes’s Nightwood
Avril Horner and Sue Zlosnik
By the mid 1930s, when Waugh’s A Handful of Dust and Barnes’s
Nightwood were published, The Waste Land (1922) had been absorbed
into high culture and T.S. Eliot was established as an important man of
letters both in England and in the United States. The transatlantic nature
of Modernism itself, exempliﬁed by the lives and works of Eliot, H.D.,
Pound, Stein and Barnes, was part of a newly dynamised interchange
such as Ann Radcliffe were Burney’s own successors, but
she, in turn, had learned from them.’ 38 Conjuring up and, indeed,
repeating this Gothichaunting, Maturin’s text proclaims itself,
from the very outset, a Gothic novel, even as its author continues to
protest against this nomenclature. Like Maturin’s characters,
then, Melmoth the wanderer is torn between warring formal and