The History of Gothic Fiction

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Edinburgh University Press, 2000 - Literary Criticism - 261 pages
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The History of Gothic Fiction debates the rise of the genre from its origins in the late eighteenth-century novel through nineteenth-century fictions of tyrants, monsters, conspirators and vampires to the twentieth-century zombie film.Approaching key novels by authors such as Walpole (TheCastle of Otranto), Radcliffe (The Romance of the Forest and The Mysteries of Udolpho), Austen (Northanger Abbey), Wollstonecraft (The Wrongs of Woman), Lewis (The Monk), Shelley (Frankenstein), Stoker (Dracula) and Halperin (White Zombie), the argument proceeds on historicist principles, analysingthe peculiar tone of these fictions and uncovering themes of credulity and reason, secrecy and enlightenment, tyranny and libertinism, sexuality and gender, race and miscegenation. The final chapters on the vampire and the zombie examine how the un-dead of gothic terror are embedded in an argument from history.Written with an undergraduate audience in mind, this text offers a synthesis of the main topics of Gothic interest and clearly argued summaries of critical debate. Itsignals its difference from popular psychoanalytic readings of Gothic and argues instead for a more complex, multilayered approach via an historicist reading of Gothic fiction. Illustrated with ten black and white plates and including up-to-date bibliographies, this will be an ideal text for allthose with an interest in the Gothic.

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About the author (2000)


Markman Ellis is Senior Lecturer, School of English and Drama at the Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London

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