CHAPTER 3

Gothic Proximities, 1865–1900

HIDDEN IDENTITIES:GHOSTS

When exploring the Gothic it is difficult to isolate psychological factors from social issues. In a form which focuses so closely on complex models of identity it is not surprising that a range of different issues are addressed. However, arguably one of the most telling characteristics of the Gothic from the 1790s to the i890s concerns the progressive internalisation of 'evil'. It would be dangerous to generalise about this trend, but it would nevertheless be true to say that a new focus on psychology indicates that a predominantly secularised version of 'monstrosity' began to appear. Monsters are not, as they were with Walpole's animated giants, or Lewis's demons, externally manifested sources of danger. Instead, by the mid-nineteenth century such horrors had largely been internalised. The roots of this can be discerned in Frankenstein in the doubling between Victor and his creature, but it is given fresh impetus in the mid-nineteenth century Gothic, as indicated by the emergence of the ghost story as a popular form from the 1840s onwards. Typically in the ghost story the 'monster' lives with you, invading your domestic spaces, so that 'evil' acquires a proximity to the self which it did not necessarily have in the earlier Gothic.1 This new departure is a matter of emphasis rather than a revolutionary break. The roots of this internalisation of evil are to be found in much of the Romantic Gothic, whilst their mature development can

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Gothic Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Chronology ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Gothic Heyday, 1760–1820 18
  • Chapter 2 - The Gothic, 1820–1865 52
  • Chapter 3 - Gothic Proximities, 1865–1900 87
  • Chapter 4 - Twentieth Century 122
  • Conclusion 161
  • Student Resources 170
  • Index 197
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