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Markus Oppolzer

This study applies Victor Turner’s theory of liminality to an examination of early British Gothic fiction and its cultural context. Contrary to the widespread belief that the Gothic is escapist in nature, a close reading of novels such as William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) or Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820) reveals that they actively engage with socio-political and educational debates of the time. Using the licence of fantastic literature, the Gothic sets up social experiments in which young, inexperienced protagonists have to face a variety of institutions. Under what circumstances are they willing to submit to these social orders? Why are rites of passage often bound to fail? These are questions consistently raised in this genre and explored in this study with reference to a wide range of political, legal, and educational treatises of the eighteenth century.
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Markus Oppolzer

This book updates reader-response criticism as the foundation of aesthetic reading in the classroom by bringing it in line with cognitive theories in literary studies and linguistics. With the help of Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner‘s conceptual integration theory, which shares a surprising number of correspondences with Wolfgang Iser‘s The Act of Reading, it is possible to flesh out the latter‘s model of narrative meaning-making. In turn, this allows for a consistent reader-response approach to the medium of comics and auto/biography as one of its dominant genres. The fragmentation of comics narratives, but also of human lives and identities, requires such a theory that can explain how different perspectives and experiences can be blended into an experiential whole.