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All that Gothic

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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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Grotesque Revived: Monstrosity in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus

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Sara Tavassoli

Nights at the Circus (1984) is widely recognized as Angela Carter’s most popular, influential and critically acclaimed work. It has been the subject of so many academic works as it lends itself to a wide variety of readings. Ib Johansen believes, “Nights at the Circus is a strange mixture of a picaresque novel, a Gothic fantasy, a Marx Brothers movie script, a circus extravaganza and a feminist utopia” (16). Many believe Carter owes to this novel much of her fame, reputation and acceptance as one of the most original and controversial woman writers of the twentieth century. Nights at the Circus marks a turning point in the literary career of the writer. As Helen Stoddart observes: “It needs to be seen in terms of its being part of the culmination of a highly productive writing career which laid the intellectual groundwork-particularly for many of the feminist ideas – that it is therefore able to explore with a lighter touch. Its great success led to the retrospective reappraisal and rediscovery of much of the work that had gone before” (6).

The purpose of this paper is to explore the Gothic motifs, especially the theme of monstrosity in Nights at the Circus. The novel also uses elements of confinement and entrapment of women as an example of female Gothic. The focus of this work, however, will be on the body of the main character Sophie Fevvers as a monster and its relationship to the grotesque...

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