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

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

by Robert Mighall


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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 si cle. 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199262182
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/29/2003
Pages: 342
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Robert Mighall is Editor of Penguin Classics at Penguin Books.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Outside in: Gothic Criticism and the Pull into Interiority
1. History as Nightmare
2. From Udolpho to Spitalfields: Mapping Gothic London
3. Haunted Houses I and II
4. Atavism: A Darwinian Nightmare
5. Unspeakable Vices: Moral Monstrosity and Representation
6. Making a Case: Vampirism, Sexuality, and Interpretation
Postscript: From Landscape to Dreamscape: Redrawing the Gothic Map

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