Gothic death 1740–1914

A literary history

The focus in this book is on how the dead and dying were represented in Gothic texts between 1740 and 1914 - between Graveyard poetry and the mass death occasioned by the First World War. The corpse might seem to have an obvious place in the Gothic imaginary but, as we shall see, the corpse so often refuses to function as a formal Gothic prop and in order to understand why this occurs we need to explore what the corpse figuratively represented in the Gothic during the long nineteenth century. Representations of death often provide a vehicle for other contemplations than just death. A central aim of this study is to explore how images of death and dying were closely linked to models of creativity, which argues for a new way of looking at aesthetics during the period. Writers explored include Edward Young, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, James Boaden, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Henry Rider Haggard, Bram Stoker and Arthur Machen.

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