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All that Gothic


Edited By Agnieszka Lowczanin and Dorota Wisniewska

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history, aesthetics and key themes of Gothic, the main issues and debates surrounding the genre along with the approaches and theories that have been applied to Gothic texts and films. The volume discusses a wide range of 18 th and 19 th century texts and moves into 20 th century literature and film. It explores the cultural resonances created by the genre and raises a variety of issues, including the ways in which Gothic monstrosity mimics same-sex desire and social transgression. The texts included in the volume argue that Gothic film and fiction animated the darker shadows of the dominant culture.
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Antonia and the Male Gaze. Imaging Femininity in M. G. Lewis’s The Monk


Agnieszka Łowczanin

Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk (1796) is a horror Gothic story of excess, exuberance and ambivalence. Opposites run down its aesthetic artery, virtue and ecstasy shimmer through Christian iconography, and sex and the macabre are never far apart. The Monk is a story of religious subversion and moral transgression. Here, flesh often speaks in categories of moral and aesthetic beauty, and is at once the object of religious veneration and lustful passion, innocent and chaste, but also uncanny and horrifying. An abundance of iconographic messages produces a novel which is visual in its texture and moral undertones, a novel where action is largely instigated by the act of perceiving and relating to the image.

Drawing on Moers’s coinage of the term “female Gothic,” The Monk has been classified as an example of “male Gothic” (Miles; Ellis). The genetically determinant factor of the author’s sex is probably less important in this classification than what appears to be a subscription to the homocentric ideology, evident in placing the eponymous male character at the core of action, and the setting within the socioeconomic patriarchal environment of the arrogant villainy of Dukes, Marquises, Condés, fathers and Abbots, who rage when displeased, dispossess when dissatisfied, rape when sexually insatiate. However, as Miles via Stone notes, “the Gothic, with its obsessive interest in patriarchy revive[s] just at that point when the traditional patriarchal patterns were historically weakest” (19). Seen from the perspective of late-eighteenth-century sociology and...

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