The gothic novel in Ireland, 1760–1830 offers a compelling account of the development of gothic literature in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Ireland. Against traditional scholarly understandings of Irish gothic fiction as a largely late-nineteenth century development, this study recovers to view a whole body of Irish literary production too often overlooked today. Its robust examination of primary texts, the contexts in which they were produced, and the critical perspectives from which they have been analysed yields a rigorous account of the largely retrospective formal and generic classifications that have worked to eliminate eighteenth-century and Romantic-era Irish fiction from the history of gothic literature. The works assessed here powerfully demonstrate that what we now understand as typical of ‘the gothic novel’– medieval, Catholic Continental settings; supernatural figures and events; an interest in the assertion of British modernity – is not necessarily what eighteenth- and nineteenth-century readers or writers would have identified as ‘gothic’. They moreover point to the manner in which scholarly focus on the national tale and allied genres has effected an erasure of the continued production and influence of gothic literature in Romantic Ireland. Combining quantitative analysis with meticulous qualitative readings of a selection of representative texts, this book sketches a new formal, generic, and ideological map of gothic literary production in this period. As it does so, it persuasively positions Irish works and authors at the centre of a newly understood paradigm of the development of the literary gothic across Ireland, Britain, and Europe between 1760 and 1830.
Ed Cameron‘s essay offers a Lacanian interpretation of the development of the eighteenth-century Gothic novel. Tracing the movement from Horace Walpole to Ann Radcliffe and Mathew Lewis, the essay argues that the Gothic supernatural machinery figures that which is immanent yet inaccessible to the narrative structure. Reading the supernatural as a literary delimitation of the excessive enjoyment of the Lacanian symbolic order, Cameron illustrates how the different manner by which each novelist relegates his or her specific use of the supernatural corresponds to different psychoanalytically recognized psychopathological structures.
In recent criticism, Jane Austen‘s Northanger Abbey has been reconsidered as a comic
rather than mock-Gothic novel, shifting its mockery onto a variety of other targets:
domineering men, unwary readers, the violence underpinning English domesticity. I argue
that Austen continues her engagement with the Gothic, beyond Northanger Abbey, using Emma
as an exemplary case. Emma not only includes explicit mentions of Gothic novels such as
Ann Radcliffe‘s The Romance of the Forest, but implicitly reformulates the relationships
between Female Gothic figures: finding a frail, victimised heroine in Jane Fairfax and a
seductive femme fatale in Emma herself.
In an influential essay, Rolf Loeber and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber have claimed that The
Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley, by A Young Lady, which was published in 1760 (four
years before Horace Walpoles The Castle of Otranto), is an Irish Gothic novel. The Loebers
claims have been supported and developed by later critics, such as Christina Morin and
Jarlath Killeen. Using the methodology of rhetorical hermeneutics, this essay investigates
the validity, from a literary poetics perspective, of categorising Sophia Berkley as an
Irish Gothic novel. I argue that the Loebers, Morin, and Killeen do not make a convincing
case for doing so.
In Sir Charles Grandison, Richardson anticipates the imaginary Italy of the Gothic novel. The categories of gender and nationality that Richardson constructs in the division of the ‘Names of the Principal Persons’ into ‘Men’, ‘Women’ and ‘Italians’ intersect with categories of health and illness to reinforce the opposition of a sensible, enlightened England, home of liberty and social stability, against a passionate, unstable and irrational Catholic Italy, home of wounded, mad and dangerous ‘Italians’. While the Gothic novel relies on landscape descriptions, banditti and abandoned castles to create a sense of terror, in Sir Charles Grandison, the Gothic is located, not in Italy, imaginary or otherwise, but in the bodies of the Italian characters.
Servant Negotiations of Gender and Class in Ann
Radcliffe‘s The Romance of the Forest
Male servants in Ann Radcliffe‘s early Gothic novels are frequently underexplored in
critical examinations of gender identity in Radcliffe‘s literary politics due to a long
tradition of social and literary marginalisation. However, class-specific masculine
identities built on a socio-moral and political ideologies and domestic anxieties are not
only particularly evident in Radcliffe‘s The Romance of the Forest (1791), but also
effectively problematise an already unstable masculine ideal therein. Servant masculine
identity in Radcliffe‘s work is developed through the contrast between servant characters
and their employers, through examples of potentially revolutionary active and narrative
agency by male servants, and through the instance of the heroine and male servants joint
flight from the Gothic space. This article will establish that the male servant character
in the early Gothic novel is essential to understanding socio-gendered identity in
Radcliffe‘s work, and that thisfi gure s incorporation in Gothic class and gender politics
merits further examination.
The introduction to this collection of essays consists of a brief outline of the place of Italy and Italians in British culture as well as a summary of the topics addressed by the contributors. The Gothic novel engages with some of the commonplace assumptions associated with Italy since Shakespeare‘s time. The essays in this collection examine how Italy became a complex geographical and cultural entity based on the unprecedented historical and cultural context in which Gothic writers lived.
Despite a wealth of recent scholarly work, Bram Stoker remains an enigma whose works often elicit contradictory conclusions from readers. Remembered today as the writer of the indisputably Gothic novel, Dracula, Stoker wrote seventeen other books; and many of them reveal his interest in areas that seem antithetical to the Gothic and its mysteries. Included among those areas are an interest in science and technology.
This essay proposes that the polyphonic and transgressive aspects of Gothic forms are influenced by music. It examines formal connections between the sonnets of Sturm und Drang poet, Friedrich Hölderlin, their musical setting by Benjamin Britten, and Susan Hill‘s novel The Bird of Night, arguing that Hill and Britten have, in common, processes of writing or musical composition which mix together disparate discursive or musical components. These inter-genre borrowings suggest that the sound and compositional practices of certain types of music allow for the expression of tensions, dualities, transformations and extreme states of mind which the Gothic novel has developed its own tropes to express.