A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction: Mapping History's Nightmares

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Oxford University Press, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 312 pages
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This is the first major full-length study of Victorian Gothic fiction. Combining original readings of familiar texts with a rich store of historical sources, A Geography of Victorian Gothic Fiction is an historicist survey of nineteenth-century Gothic writing--from Dickens to Stoker, Wilkie Collins to Conan Doyle, through European travelogues, sexological textbooks, ecclesiastic histories and pamphlets on the perils of self-abuse. Critics have thus far tended to concentrate on specific angles of Gothic writing (gender or race), or the belief that the Gothic 'returned' at the so-called fin de siecle. Robert Mighall, by contrast, demonstrates how the Gothic mode was active throughout the Victorian period, and provides historical explanations for its development from late eighteenth century, through the 'Urban Gothic' fictions of the mid-Victorian period, the 'Suburban Gothic' of the Sensation vogue, through to the somatic horrors of Stevenson, Machen, Stoker, and Doyle at the century's close. Mighall challenges the psychological approach to Gothic fiction which currently prevails, demonstrating the importance of geographical, historical, and discursive factors that have been largely neglected by critics, and employing a variety of original sources to demonstrate the contexts of Gothic fiction and explain its development in the Victorian period.
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Contents

History as Nightmare
1
From Udolpho to Spitalfields Mapping Gothic London
27
Haunted Houses I and II
78
Atavism A Darwinian Nightmare
130
Unspeakable Vices Moral Monstrosity and Representation
166
Making a Case Vampirism Sexuality and Interpretation
210
From Landscape to Dreamscape Redrawing the Gothic Map
248
Bibliography
288
Index
309
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About the author (2003)

Robert Mighall is an Honorary Research Fellow in English Literature at University College London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He also held the position of Editor of Penguin Classics. His publications include an edited selection of Oscar Wilde's poetry for Everyman and Wilde's ThePicture of Dorian Gray for Penguin Classics. He currently works as a consultant on corporate identity and communications at Citigate Lloyd Northover.

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