James Robertson‘s well-deserved reputation as a historical novelist has obscured the role that the Gothic plays in his work. Manifesting itself in distinctively Scottish fashion, Robertson‘s Gothicism is tied to the ‘broader national culture’ in general and to post-devolutionary Scotland in particular. Not only does his transformation of the Gothic into the historical novels uncanny other resist the modern novels tendency towards increasing privatisation. It also results in work that diverges from much post-devolutionary Scottish fiction in that his stories and novels are, by virtue of the density of their Scottishness, deeply connected to the local and to folk culture.
Marryat’s involvement with the Lower Canada Rebellion situated his encounter with
civil war at its ‘most exterminating’ within the production of
Phantom, the Cycle’s least conventional historical sea novel;
it offered both a point of imaginative recursion and a concentrated image of his
broader critique of the Early Republic. Just as the seamen of Midshipman
Easy or The Naval Officer operate within multiple
hierarchies at once, Marryat’s strangest yarn, replete with ghost ships and
werewolves, operates across multiple genres and cultural formations. The common
denominator for both the writer and the written in this case is multivalence –
the ship that is both ship and ghost, the woman who is both mother and wolf,
their writer who is both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’, witness and contriver – but
in this, Marryat the writer performs the same essential functions as imperial
agents and colonial ‘factors’ do within Phantom: adjudication,
translation, and open-ended transformation.
This first book-length study of Kate Atkinson’s multifaceted œuvre is a comprehensive introductory overview of her novels, play and stories. It situates Atkinson’s literary production in terms of an aesthetics of hydridity that appropriates and re-combines well-known genres (coming-of-age novel, detective fiction, historical novel) and narrative techniques. This book explores the singularity and significance of Atkinson’s complex narratives that engage the reader in contemporary issues and insight into human concerns through a study of the major aspects and themes that tie in her work (the combination of tradition and innovation, the relationship to the collective and personal past, to history and memory, all impregnated with humour and a feminist standpoint). It pursues a broadly chronological line through Atkinson’s literary career from Behind the Scenes at the Museum to Big Sky, the latest instalment in the Brodie sequence, through the celebrated Life After Life and subsequent re-imaginings of the war. Alongside the well-known novels, the book includes a discussion of her less-studied play and collection of short stories. Chapters combine the study of formal issues such as narrative structure, perspective and point of view with thematic analyses.
Transformations of the Human in the Writing of Liam O‘Flaherty
This paper examines the way in which the tension in O‘Flaherty‘s writing between disappointed idealism and lingering romanticism is expressed by his use of the grotesque, which enables him at once to display both revulsion and romantic resistance to limitation, both of which are counter to a coherent enlightenment view of the rational human. The paper traces O‘Flaherty‘s use of the grotesque in the short stories and a number of historical novels and his creation of figures which are sometimes monstrous, often humorous and sometimes enlightened by moments of transcendence of limitations, but always resistant to defining boundaries.
Cecil Brown is nearing eighty years old and starting new projects all the time.
He is currently writing a historical novel about the life of the enslaved poet
George Moses Horton and a memoir about his friendship with James Baldwin. He met
Baldwin early in his career, during a trip to Europe after the translation of
his first novel, The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger
(1969) [trans. La vie et les amours de Mr. Jiveass le
Nègre, 1972]. They remained friends until Baldwin’s
death in 1987. This interview collates several conversations about Baldwin that
took place in December 2022 and January 2023. Brown reflects on their
relationship, on Baldwin’s influence for him personally, and on the
meaning of Black cultural celebrity more broadly; he also touches on
Baldwin’s situation between Black Power and Black feminism, and the
ramifications of the politics of the 1970s for the present.
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.
‘The style of my friend Sir
Walter Scott’: Gothicism in the historicalnovel
Maturin’s sixth and final
novel, The Albigenses, a romance ( 1824 ), is, like Melmoth the wanderer before
it, a kind of textual house of mirrors. In it, fiction and
historiography, prose and poetry, text and paratext become vitally
overlapped, spectrally spread throughout the narrative and in
This chapter examines Kate
Atkinson’s experimentation within the historicalnovel form in
her later fiction, the focus of which is on the Second World War. The
contemporary historical fiction practised by Atkinson certainly
illustrates how ‘the fiction of the twenty-first century …
invents new forms with which to narrate the past’ (Boxall 2013 , 40) and the aim of this chapter is to
‘Gothicism’, ‘historicism’, and the overlap of fictional modes from Thomas Leland to Walter Scott
's concern with the past as providing essential lessons for the present, particularly in terms of governmental rule and the security of individual rights and liberties.
With its central interest in British history's relevance to contemporary society, Longsword has readily lent itself to analysis as an early example of the historicalnovel more commonly associated with Sir Walter Scott. 5 The gothic elements of the text indicated by Summers’ terminology have less frequently garnered attention. Rolf and Magda Loeber describe Longsword as a pre
Orphans learn and remember in African American novels
Maria Holmgren Troy
We view Butler, Gomez, and Morrison as literary othermothers,
as representative of those black women writers whose commanding
artistic visions derive in large part from their commitment to African
American community and art. Their concern with a communal past,
present, and future, as well as their profound exploration of the conditions for social and artistic belonging, are reflected in the use they
make of orphan figures and the literary genres of speculative fiction
and the historicalnovel – these are employed to negotiate dominant
paradigms of American family