Contesting the Gothic: Fiction, Genre, and Cultural Conflict, 1764-1832

Synopsis

This historically grounded account of Gothic fiction takes issue with received accounts of the genre as a stable and continuous tradition. Charting its vicissitudes from Walpole to Scott, Watt shows the Gothic to have been a heterogeneous body of fiction, characterized at times by antagonistic relations between writers or works. Watt examines the novels' political import and concludes by looking ahead to the fluctuating critical status of Scott and the Gothic, and perceptions of the Gothic as a monolithic tradition, which continue to exert a powerful hold.