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Gothic Metamorphoses across the Centuries

Contexts, Legacies, Media

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Edited By Maurizio Ascari, Serena Baiesi and David Levente Palatinus

This collection of essays brings together an international team of scholars with the aim to shed new light on various interconnected aspects of the Gothic through the lens of converging critical and methodological approaches. With its wide-ranging interdisciplinary perspective, the book explores the domains of literary, pictorial, filmic, televisual and popular cultural texts in English from the eighteenth century to the present day. Within these pages, the Gothic is discussed as a dynamic form that exceeds the concept of literary genre, proving able to renovate and adapt through constant processes of hybridisation. Investigating the hypothesis that the Gothic returns in times of cultural crisis, this study maps out transgressive and experimental modes conducive to alternative experiences of the intricacies of the human (and post-human) condition.

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Vernon Lee and the Renaissance as Gothic at the Fin-de-siècle

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Abstract: The aim of the paper is to explore the representation of Renaissance Italy, in Vernon Lee’s Amour Dure (1887) and A Wedding Chest (1904). The paper will examine the two short stories in the context of Victorian descriptions of the Renaissance (from Ruskin to Pater) and Lee’s own critical essays (Euphorion, 1884; Renaissance Fancies and Studies, 1895) discussing the ways in which they reflect an extremely ambivalent relationship to the past. Lee’s Renaissance implies a meta-historical understanding of the Gothic as a form of reception of the Italian Renaissance exposing the ambivalence and the contradictions of the relationship between modernity and the “spurious ghost” of the past.

Keywords: Italian Renaissance in England, Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, aestheticism, femme fatale, art criticism

At first sight, the Renaissance and the Gothic might seem two altogether incompatible and diametrically opposed categories: isn’t in fact the Renaissance the denial, the very antithesis of the Middle Ages? A period of classical culture and enlightenment that supersedes the century-long gloom and ignorance of the so-called Dark Ages? A period that marks the rise of the modern world with its exasperated individualism, the assertion of the secular over the religious and contemplative life, the birth of modern science. An age, in a word, that seems to form a dramatic contrast with anything ‘medieval’ or Gothic. And yet there is something notoriously uncanny – something ‘dark’ one might say – about the Renaissance (and the Italian Renaissance in particular). It is a well-known...

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