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James Uden

Scholars of eighteenth-century literature have long seen the development of the Gothic as a break from neoclassical aesthetics, but this article posits a more complex engagement with classical imitation at the origins of the genre. In Horace Walpole’s formative Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto, his Gothic drama The Mysterious Mother, and in the curiosities in his villa, classical elements are detached from their contexts and placed in startling and strange juxtapositions. His tendency towards the fragmentation of ancient culture, frequently expressed through the imagery of dismemberment, suggests an aesthetic not of imitation, but of collection. Moreover, rather than abandoning or ignoring the classical, Walpole reconfigures literary history to demonstrate elements of monstrosity and hybridity already present in Greek and Roman texts.

Gothic Studies
David Worrall

This essay announces the discovery of ten performances of Horace Walpole‘s five-act tragedy, The Mysterious Mother (1768) in May 1821 at The Surrey Theatre, St Georges Fields, London, then under the management of Thomas John Dibdin (1771–1841). It was produced as Narbonne Castle: Or, The Mysterious Mother and billed as founded on a Tragic Play written by the late HORACE WALPOLE, EARL OF ORFORD, and now presented for the FIRST TIME. It has long been assumed there was no public performance until the Glasgow Citizens Theatre production of 2001. The essay demonstrates theatre licensing conditions forced Dibdin to produce Narbonne Castle as a three-act, musicalized, redaction. With audiences totalling in excess of 16,000, its production raises many questions about contemporary attitudes to incest.

Gothic Studies
Ed Cameron

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.

Gothic Studies
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Homosocial Sins and Identity in Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto
Max Fincher

Readings of William Beckford‘s novel Vathek suggest it encodes homoerotic desire and suspect masculinity in its themes and narrative structure when read alongside the life of the author. Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto can be read with the same methodology. The narratives of identity reversal, both gender and social, and its tropes of hyperbolic masculinity as sources of fear are interpreted according to the central importance gender has for understanding Walpole‘s conception of his sexuality. The novel exhibits a fear of gossip and rumour over identity, which may be related to a fear of public exposure of homoerotic desire as it is (mis)understood in terms of same-sex practice between men.

Gothic Studies
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Discovering a Gothic Imagination
Anne Williams

Critics of the Gothic have typically stated that ancient, foreign, Catholic, Italy was generally an obvious choice as the site of early Gothic ‘otherness’. I argue that Walpole‘s choice of Italy was in fact overdetermined by his experiences there from 1739–41. In Italy, Walpole learned various strategies for disguising a self implicitly unacceptable in England. Italy was notorious for its homoerotic subcultures. Its Carnevale institutionalised the masquerade, and Italian opera performed the notion that gender is a performance. Upon his return to England, Walpole constructed Strawberry Hill, his most extravagant and elaborate masquerade. Years later, when the dream of his grand staircase impelled, The Castle of Otranto, another disguise was expressed. According to Otranto, Strawberry Hill was the unconscious embodiment of the English cultural prohibitions imposed upon him; the first Gothic novel is also the first closet.

Gothic Studies
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Supernatural Masculinity in Gothic Fiction
Kathy Justice Gentile

Applying Butler‘s gender performance theory and critiquing authoritative philosophical discourse on the sublime, the essay examines the Gothic sublime as phantasmatic masculine drag. Focusing on Walpole‘s flamboyant flouting of Longinus‘s rhetorical prescriptions, the essay also explores how The Castle ofOtrantos fictional progeny continue to drag sublimity into Gothic drag king performances.

Gothic Studies
Gary Farnell

Ranging from Horace Walpole to Angela Carter, this essay contributes to an emergent theory of the Gothic. Its argument is that ‘Gothic’ is the name for the speaking subjects experience of approaching what Jacques Lacan has termed ‘the Thing’, and that the processes of sublimation and abjection are what structure the experience of that approach.

Gothic Studies
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David Hume, Horace Walpole and the Emergence of Gothic Fiction
Jonathan Dent

This article explores the complex, oft en antagonistic relationship between Horace Walpole‘s The Castle of Otranto (1764) and David Hume‘s The History of England (1754–62). Focusing on textuality and the interrelationship between literature and history, answers to a number of questions are sought. For example, why is Otranto so concerned with historical authenticity, what techniques does Walpole use to write the past and how do these compare with Humes methods? Walpole had read several volumes of Hume‘s history before writing his Gothic novel and this article proposes that Otranto can be read as a bold response to The History of England.

Gothic Studies
The Case of Sophia Berkley
Richard Haslam

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.

Gothic Studies
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Elisabeth Bronfen and Beate Neumeier

chemical preparation of phosphorus’ (Kelly), and the ambient skull turns out to be the home of a rat. I have commented elsewhere on some of the ways in which Shakespearean texts function as a resource for Gothic writing (cf. Drakakis and Townshend 1ff), and indeed, the initiator of the genre, Horace Walpole, in his preface to the second edition of

in Gothic Renaissance