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Visions and Revisions

Studies in Literature and Culture


Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta

Collected under the theme of Visions and Revisions, the papers included in this volume examine different aspects of literature and culture of the Anglophone world. The first part gathers articles dealing with poetry of such epochs as the seventeenth century, the Victorian era and the modern times. Part two focuses on prose works representing such conventions and modes as the romance, the Gothic novel, the condition of England novel, Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, the science fiction novel and gay fiction. Part three concerns various aspects of British and American culture, including the new media, drama and journalism, and advertising. In its diversity the volume reflects the dynamics of change in literature and culture, enabling the readers to investigate the multifaceted canon.
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The Gothic Space Revisited

← 168 | 169 →Anna Kędra-Kardela


There is no denying that ever since its creation by Horace Walpole in 1764, the Gothic novel has invariably been defined in terms of its setting. Whether it is a medieval castle, steep mountains, a Victorian house, a city or some twentieth-century location, the setting of the novel determines, to a great extent, its generic classification as a Gothic novel. I shall argue that the Gothic quality of the spatial arrangement in the novel is not a constant feature of a text written in this genre but is subject to change.

There are two basic mechanisms of this change: either the familiar space becomes unfamiliar and thus acquires a Gothic quality, or a reverse process can take place, when Gothic space loses its quality as a result of being “appropriated” by the characters (by a woman, in particular) and thus becomes “domesticated.”1

Based on three novels written over a period of two centuries: The Castle of Otranto (1764), Wuthering Heights (1847), Rebecca (1938), and a short story The Bloody Chamber (1979), I claim that both these processes – which I call gothicisation and degothicisation of the space respectively, are characteristic of this generic convention determining the plot patterns in novels labelled as Gothic.

In his study on space in Gothic fiction, Manuel Aguirre (2002, 2008) argues that the Gothic universe of the novel can be perceived in geometrical terms as a two-part space embracing two domains: the rational domain of the understandable and the...

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