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.
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.
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 historical novel 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 historical novel 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
'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 historical novel 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
. 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 historical novel – these are employed to negotiate dominant paradigms of American family
, and while resilience can be a measure of the abiding strengths of natural systems, it can also result in new environmental woes in its own right (such as a preponderance of invasive Phragmites reeds, and the further decline of megafauna like elephants that I hinted at above). Science fiction, speculative fiction and the pre-posterous historical novel That all four of the terms I just spent some time defining are marked, in varying degrees, by ambiguity underscores their structural importance to the narratives in which they are employed as tropes, owing to a