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Expanding the Gothic Canon

Studies in Literature, Film and New Media

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Edited By Anna Kędra-Kardela and Andrzej Sławomir Kowalczyk

This volume offers a survey of analyses of Gothic texts, including literary works, feature films, a TV serial, and video games, with a view to showing the evolution and expansion of the Gothic convention across the ages and the media. The temporal scope of the book is broad: the chapters cover narratives from the early and mid-eighteenth century, predating the birth of the convention in 1764, through Romantic and Victorian novels, to the contemporary manifestations of the Gothic. Primarily designed for graduate and postgraduate students, the book sets out to acquaint them with both the convention and different theoretical approaches. The studies presented here could also prove inspirational for fellow scholars and helpful for university teachers, the book becoming an item on the reading lists in Gothic literature, film and media courses.
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CHAPTER FIVE: The Undead Queen: Queen Victoria’s Afterlife in Gothic Fiction

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CHAPTER FIVE

The Undead Queen: Queen Victoria’s Afterlife in Gothic Fiction

DOROTA BABILAS

Queen Victoria has enjoyed a lasting presence in popular culture, and in the century following her physical death in 1901, she has smoothly progressed from the realm of history to that of legend. Written and filmed works featuring the Queen who has given her name to an epoch are many, even if we exclude serious biographies and historical analyses, and concentrate only on fiction. Most of these books and films attempt to relate to a more historical Victoria: her youth as a princess, her deep love for her husband, Prince Albert, and even deeper bereavement after his death in December 1861, aged only 42. There are some who glorify her achievements as a monarch, e.g. the celebrated British movies Victoria the Great and Sixty Glorious Years directed by Herbert Wilcox in the late 1930s. There are others who try to look beyond the façade of a perfect royal wife-and-mother, e.g. the interesting take on her later life in John Madden’s Mrs Brown (1997). Some, like the author Jean Plaidy, sympathize with her. Others, like Spike Milligan and Monty Python’s Flying Circus, mock her. But sometimes—and this will be the subject of this article—Queen Victoria appears in genres of fiction stemming directly from the Gothic tradition.

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