Studies in Literature, Film and New Media
CHAPTER FIVE: The Undead Queen: Queen Victoria’s Afterlife in Gothic Fiction
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The Undead Queen: Queen Victoria’s Afterlife in Gothic Fiction
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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