This edition, published to mark the 250th anniversary of Radcliffe’s birth, includes suggestions for further reading, editorial notes on the text, and an introductory essay. The latter provides background on Radcliffe’s life and work, and considers the ways in which Observations contributes to developing ideas about the cultural significance of the Lake District during a period in which that region was still in the process of imaginative discovery.
Harriett Gilbert talks about favourite books, including A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, with award-winning screenwriter Abi Morgan and cultural historian Christopher Frayling. His choice is The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, a collection of short stories in which he actually features.. And Harriett has recently discovered the darkly comic Mortdecai novels, including the first one, Don't Point that Thing at Me, by Kyril Bonfiglioli.
The Gothic Child offers a thoughtful and comprehensive discussion on the child in gothic literature using the genre’s treatment of this figure as an idea, concept, and/or memory within a text, as captured in Georgieva’s claim that ‘[t]he gothic world is, in fact, the world of childhood’ (Georgieva 60). Georgieva discusses the typical portrait and nature of the gothic child and traces its development both structurally and thematically by initially concentrating her study on primary sources from the first wave of gothic (1764-1824). However, her later inclusion of contemporary horror films creates a significant link between the two periods of gothic in order to emphasise how both portray the figure of the child as a receiving vessel and to investigate the significance of this uncertain identity.
Imaginatively brilliant and hauntingly provocative, this collection of weird tales harbours a ruthless critique of the seemingly absent dialectic in mainstream political dialogues: where can we locate an ethical dimension in today’s climate of austerity, as financial crisis and corporate greed impose devastating welfare cuts upon so many? The lurid excesses encountered in these horror fictions counteract institutional corruption on various levels, revealing a climate of hardships that cannot be obfuscated by the tabloid sensationalised scapegoating of migrant workers and benefit claimants.
The Gothic mode is noted for its chill factor – and is therefore unsurprisingly antithetical to sunlight. Among the many familiar characteristics of Gothic style are greyness, mist and cold: when the sun does appear it is often labelled weak or sickly, countering the usual association of the sun with warmth and health and suggesting a malaise in the environment in which the story is set. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that nowadays the Gothic is not readily associated with Spain, which suffers from its own clichés, notably being over-endowed with sun. Spain and Italy provided prime Gothic locations for the 18th-century heyday of the Gothic novel, and Spain specifically was the location for works such as Lewis’s The Monk and Maturin’sMelmoth the Wanderer. Authors were drawn to such locations not because of the sunshine but the association of the Southern Mediterranean with superstitious beliefs deriving from Catholic societies that contrasted with the supposedly rational and pragmatic ideologies of Protestant Northern Europe. Well before the rise of tourism to Spain in the 1960s, the Gothic authors of the North took their readers on virtual tours to the country. With the rise of twentieth-century tourism, though, the equation of Spain with sun has replaced the earlier Gothic portrait of supersition.
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