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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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Editors’ Preface

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Sir Horace Walpole could not have predicted that his Gothic story, The Castle of Otranto (1764), would prove so influential that the convention it initiated—though considerably transformed—would still, in the twenty first century, appeal to authors and audiences alike. The eighteenth century Gothic novel gradually evolved into what is known as the Gothic mode, permeating various forms of (popular) literature as well as other fields of modern culture, including music, fashion, painting, etc. An inherently transgressive cultural phenomenon, the Gothic has crossed generic, intermedial, as well as geographical boundaries, so much so that since the twentieth century onwards, to use Botting’s apt phrase, it has been “everywhere and nowhere” (2007: 155). The broad scope of meaning the term “Gothic” covers makes some critics, like Groom, claim that it “now risks being emptied or nullified as a meaningful term” (2012: xv).

Nor could Walpole have imagined that the theoretical considerations from his Prefaces to the first and second editions of Otranto would start a rich critical tradition which has been developing ever since, embracing not only literary works but also new forms of artistic expression, such as feature and TV films, comic books, or video games.

This volume offers, from the vantage point of the concept of canon, 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...

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