Character Doubling and Social Critique in the Short Fiction
A. A. Markley
As she had done in Frankenstein, Mary Shelley reworked the gothic dopplegänger motif time and again in her short fiction not only to entertain but also to educate her readers. Focusing on four tales written in the late 1820s and early 1830s, this paper considers how Shelley repeatedly set up a triangle of desire in which an intensely competitive and destructive relationship between men is mitigated or resolved by a female character. A close look at these tales contributes to our understanding of the extent to which Mary Shelley devoted herself to remodelling Gothic modes. More importantly, these tales demonstrate the degree to which her ‘New Gothic’ was intended to contribute to a reconfiguration of traditional gender roles and a revaluation of the domestic affections, particularly in terms of their relevance to the political arena.
White Female, finally, clothing provides a primary
mechanism through which the exploration of the doppelganger theme
The key critical text to theorise
male doubles in Gothic literature is Eve Sedgwick’s Between
Men: English Literature and Male HomosocialDesire ( 1985 ). While
Sedgwick’s discussion of male relationships is extremely
together which might be seen to stimulate ‘a misunderstanding of trauma’. The two acts are, of course, vastly different
in extremity, context and desired outcome; however, just as the
body depicted in the photographs we discussed was real, so too
is O’Reilly’s and, likewise, the incisions she makes into it. The
paradox I am suggesting she inhabits is structurally similar to
the model of ‘homosocialdesire’ which Eve Sedgwick proposes
in Between Men: English Literature and Male HomosocialDesire
(1985). Briefly, Sedgwick proposes that male relationships exist
academia see William Hughes, ‘Gothic Criticism: A Survey,
1764–2004’ in Anna Powell and Andrew Smith (eds),
Teaching the Gothic (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006), pp.
10–28, passim .
See Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Between
Men: English Literature and Male HomosocialDesire (New
Erotic commodification, cross-cultural conversion, and the bed-trick on the English stage, 1580–1630
bed-trick in The True Trojans uses the woman (no women
actually appear on stage) as a counter in a transaction that is
purely ‘between men’, an exchange of the sort that Eve
Kosofsky Sedgwick describes in Between
Men. 22 In The True Trojans , the absence
of women and the intensity of male homosocialdesire eventually
leads to open aggression between Hirildus and Eulinus
Literature and Male HomosocialDesire (1985) has argued, three
of the Gothic’s original architects were, at least in
today’s terms, homosexual: ‘Beckford notoriously, Lewis
probably, Walpole iffily’ (92-3). Subsequent attempts at queering
the Gothic through the work of authorial biography has reached similar
conclusions: recent work by Rictor Norton, Timothy Mowl’s
Horace Walpole: The Great Outsider
‘when is the Gothic anything but queer?’ Since the
publication of Sedgwick’s The Coherence of Gothic
Conventions (1980) and more crucially Between Men: English
Literature and Male HomosocialDesire (1985) and Epistemology
of the Closet (1991), the Gothic novel has been revised, by
Sedgwick’s reading of Claude Lévi Strauss and René
Girard, from being a metaphor for the repressed to a
The ‘frontier condition’ in María Novaro’s Sin dejar huella
Sofía Ruiz- Alfaro
structure that reveals, beneath its surface of male rivalry and
competition for a woman, a powerful male homosocial bond (Sedgwick, 1992 : 27), present in Cuarón’s film
through the close friendship between Julio and Tenoch, the two male
teenagers. In the end, the film shows that male homosocialdesire
ultimately determines the position of these two male protagonists in
Mexican society and confirms it to be the most powerful force in
: 250 – 65 .
Riggs , D. W. and Russell , L. ( 2011 ) ‘ Characteristics of men willing to act as sperm donors in the context of identity-release legislation ’, Human Reproduction 26 ( 1 ): 266 – 72 .
Saner , E. ( 2012 ) ‘ I think of my egg donor every day ’, Guardian , 13 December. Available at www.theguardian.com/soiety/2012/dec/13/egg-donation-donor-recipient-experience (accessed 26 November 2015).
Sedgwick , E. K. ( 1985 ) Between Men: English Literature and Male HomosocialDesire . New York : Columbia University Press .
Sydsjö , G