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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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Floating Worlds, Splintered Narratives and Unstable Identities: The Spectral Return of the Gothic in Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith

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Floating Worlds, Splintered Narratives and Unstable Identities: The Spectral Return of the Gothic in Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith

Marta Goszczyńska

It is December 1862 when Sue Trinder, a 17-year-old orphan raised in the London slums with a gang of petty thieves, receives an offer of a job. The offer comes from Richard Rivers, a conman more commonly known as Gentleman, and forms an integral part of his ambitious scam to cheat a wealthy heiress, Maud Lilly, out of her fortune. The plan involves seduction, elopement, marriage and the heiress’s eventual commitment to a lunatic asylum. Sue is to assist Gentleman by taking the role of the lady’s maid and persuading her to elope with him.

Though the summary above reads as if it were taken from a sensation novel by Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon or Sheridan Le Fanu, it belongs to Fingersmith (2002), a contemporary text penned by Sarah Waters. Together with Tipping the Velvet (1998) and Affinity (1999), the book belongs to an informal trilogy of novels depicting the lives of lesbian characters in the Victorian era. Incredibly popular with both straight and gay audiences, all the parts of the trilogy have been filmed by BBC and repeatedly praised for their tightly woven plots, memorable characters and vivid recreations of nineteenth-century life.

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