The Literary Gothic: From Walpole to Lovecraft

This resource provides an introduction to the ways in which the Literary Gothic has evolved from its emergence in the mid-seventeenth century to the present day. Based around material held in the Special Collections department of the Brotherton Library and featuring the work of academic specialists in the School of English at the University of Leeds, the resource will guide you through some of the principle texts and foremost authors associated with the literary Gothic, in the process introducing you to some of the key critical ideas for understanding this unsettling literary tradition. For more information on the contributors to this resource please see the 'Notes' associated with each entry.

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Title Page of 'Jeffery's edition of the Castle of Otranto : a Gothic story' by Horace Walpole (London: Blackader, 1800). Brotherton Library class mark BC Gen/WAL.

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Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto (1764)
Written in 1764, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole is considered to be the first example of a Gothic romance, and many critics and historians believe that the text marks the beginning of the literary gothic period that continued until 1818 when Mary Shelley published her famous novel Frankenstein. Walpole created public intrigue following the anonymous publication of the first edition of his novel in December 1764. This was largely due to his elaborate, yet false, construction of a story detailing the supposed origin and discovery of the manuscript. In his preface he wrote that the book had been discovered in the north England home of an ancient Catholic family and had originally been written in Naples by Onuphrio Muralto in 1529, before being translated into English by William Marshall (Walpole’s pseudonym). Ironically, the supposed ‘exotic’ text was not translated from English into Italian until 1794, thirty years after its first publication. It was not until the second edition of Otranto was published in 1765 that the true identity of the author was exposed. In a letter to his friend Rev. William Cole, dated 9th March 1765, Walpole revealed that the idea for his Gothic romance had originating from an eerie dream he had experience in June 1764. During his dream he had found himself roaming an ancient castle when, at the top of a large staircase, he had witnessed a gigantic hand encased in armour. Walpole completed the novel in less than two months, and the dream he described was to become an integral part of his wild story. Medieval architecture is an important motif in Gothic texts, and the imposing, ruinous and decaying castle of Walpole’s novel is arguably the true protagonist of the story. Other central themes that Walpole revived, and that subsequent writers like Clara Reeve, Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis emulated, include: the ancestral curse, fainting heroines and labyrinthine passage ways. - Rachel Mace

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Bibliography Stevens, David, The Gothic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). Walpole, Horace, The Castle of Otranto, ed. by W. S. Lewis (1764; London: Oxford University Press, 1969). Walpole, Horace, Horace Walpole’s Correspon

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Rachel Mace is a PhD student working in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Rachel is currently working on her doctoral thesis entitled 'Gothic Representation in the Work of Thomas Hardy.'

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Title page from 'A new edition of the mysteries of Udolpho : a romance (v.1)' by Ann Radcliff (London: Fisher, 1828). Brotherton Library class mark BC Gen/RAD.

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Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)

As a female author at a time when novels were often regarded as a lesser form of writing, Ann Radcliffe achieved remarkable success. She was one of the most popular and influential Gothic novelists of her time, publishing five novels between the years 1789-1797 (a sixth was published in 1826, three years of her death). Her popularity is reflected in the acclaim of her peers, who labelled her the ‘Shakespeare of Romance writers’.
The Mysteries of Udolpho was first published in 1794. Set in sixteenth-century Europe, its heroine is the beautiful and virtuous Emily St Aubert. Following the death of her father, Emily becomes increasingly vulnerable and is pursued by her aunt’s husband: a tyrannous Italian nobleman named Montoni, who attempts to force her to marry another nobleman, Count Morano. Montoni takes Emily to the castle of Udolpho, situated high in the Apennine mountains of Italy. Eventually, Emily manages to escape Montoni’s clutches before happily marrying her true love.
Featuring a beautiful heroine, villainous aristocrats, mysterious buildings, and sublime mountain scenery, The Mysteries of Udolpho contains many of the elements that became characteristic of the Gothic novel. A notable feature of the novel (and of Radcliffe’s writing in general) is her use of what is referred to as ‘the explained supernatural’. This is when events that initially seemed to be supernatural, or the result of otherworldly powers, are ultimately explained away as having a natural cause. Many of Radcliffe’s early readers felt cheated by this technique, viewing it as a disappointing anti-climax. It is, though, characteristic of the Radcliffean Gothic, which thrives on building psychological suspense and anxiety in an ultimately rational world. - Dr Richard De Ritter

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Engraving of Emily St Aubert from 'A new edition of the mysteries of Udolpho : a romance (v.1)' by Ann Radcliff (London: Fisher, 1828). Brotherton Library class mark BC Gen/RAD.

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Engraving from 'A new edition of the mysteries of Udolpho : a romance (v.1)' by Ann Radcliff (London: Fisher, 1828). Brotherton Library class mark BC Gen/RAD.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Dr Richard De Ritter is a lecturer in the long eighteenth-century in the School of English at the University of Leeds. For information on Dr De Ritter's research please see: http://bit.ly/1lGS1Hm

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Engraving from 'Northanger Abbey' by Jane Austen (London, Edinburgh: Bentley, Bell & Bradfute, 1837). Brotherton Library class mark: SC English L-32/AUS.

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Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817)

Although it was published after Jane Austen’s death in 1817, the majority of Northanger Abbey was written decades earlier, in the late 1790s. Its heroine is the young and naïve Catherine Morland – an avid reader of Gothic novels (particularly those by Ann Radcliffe). The first half of Northanger Abbey follows Catherine as she visits the fashionable town of Bath. There, she meets a variety of characters including the charming, but initially disconcerting, Henry Tilney. The second half of the novel engages more directly with the idea of the Gothic. Catherine visits Henry and his sister at their family home of Northanger Abbey: a name that conjures visions of the ‘ancient edifices’ Catherine has read about in Gothic fiction. But when she arrives at the abbey, Catherine is disappointed to find a modern, distinctly un-Gothic building. Her expectations are dashed again when, during a stormy night at the abbey, she dramatically discovers a roll of paper in a cabinet (recalling a similar scene in Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest). The next day, the morning light dispels her excitement by revealing that the apparently mysterious manuscript was in fact a laundry list, left in the chest by a servant.
Critics have disagreed about the significance of the novel’s playful engagement with the conventions of the Gothic mode. Some have suggested that Austen is offering a dismissive parody of the genre: ultimately, Catherine’s overactive imagination is tamed when Henry sternly reminds her that she lives in modern England, rather than within the pages of a Gothic novel. Nevertheless, with its witty and self-conscious allusions to authors such as Ann Radcliffe, and its defence of the ‘extensive and unaffected pleasure’ of novel-reading, Northanger Abbey offers a clear demonstration of Austen’s affection and esteem for the Gothic genre. - Dr Richard De Ritter

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Dr Richard De Ritter is a lecturer in the long eighteenth-century in the School of English at the University of Leeds. For information on Dr De Ritter's research please see: http://bit.ly/1lGS1Hm

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Title page for 'Frankenstein : or, The modern Prometheus' by Mary Shelley (London: G. & W. B. Whittaker, 1823). Brotherton Library class mark: BC NCC/SHE.

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Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818)

Often taken as a straightforward warning about the dangers of unchecked human ambition and scientific experimentation, Frankenstein is in fact a complex and ambivalent novel that refuses to find easy answers to difficult questions. Written by Mary Shelley in her late teens, it addresses the innovations of its age, as well as drawing on a wide range of older sources and contexts. Subtitled ‘The Modern Prometheus’ and featuring extensive allusions to John Milton’s epic religious poem Paradise Lost (1667), it is concerned with what happens when humans explore areas traditionally thought of as the prerogative of the divine, but does not necessarily suggest that such explorations are unjustified. Similarly, it takes a sceptical approach to the utopian imaginings associated in the period with scientific discoveries and political revolution (and often articulated by Mary’s husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley) without promoting a conservative agenda. A key reason for its complexity is its innovative narrative structure, in which the Arctic explorer Robert Walton frames the stories told by Victor Frankenstein and the being he creates only to reject. This self-reflexive narrative form, as well as the novel’s concern with discovered texts and stories, has made it a goldmine for literary critics. It shares a number of tropes with earlier Gothic novels: sublime landscapes, extreme psychological states, macabre occurrences, and supernatural entities. However, unlike most of these texts, it is concerned not with looking back into more barbaric past, but with imagining what human beings might attempt in the future. For that reason it is sometimes seen as the first science fiction novel. - Dr David Higgins

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Extract from 'Frankenstein : or, The modern Prometheus' by Mary Shelley (London: G. & W. B. Whittaker, 1823). Brotherton Library class mark: BC NCC/SHE.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Bibliography The secondary literature on Frankenstein is vast and continues to expand. A good place to start is with modern editions of the novel, which will recommend and/or include critical reading. Two particularly useful texts are the Norton Critical

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Dr David Higgins is an Associate Professor in English Literature at the University of Leeds. His research addresses various aspects of British culture and literature during the Romantic period. For more information see: http://bit.ly/1Q

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Title page of 'Confessions of an English opium-eater' by Thomas De Quincey (London: Taylor and Hessey, 1822). Brotherton Library class mark BC NCC/DEQ.

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Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater (1821)
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) was an intellectual, periodical essayist, and autobiographer writing in the first half of the nineteenth century. His most famous work, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, was originally published in the London Magazine in 1821. The work records his early life, descent into opium addiction, and attempts to free himself from the drug’s influence. It is significant perhaps more for its contribution to the autobiographical genre than to the Gothic tradition; others of De Quincey’s works – his short story, ‘The Avenger’, or his essay ‘On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts’, for example – are more conventionally Gothic. However, particularly in its account of De Quincey’s fevered dreams during a period of opium withdrawal, the Confessions can be seen to engage with various Gothic tropes: for instance, representations of the sublime; psychological trauma; Orientalism and fears of the racial ‘Other’. The dream narratives depict the unfolding of sublime and impossible landscapes in the mind of the dreamer, which inspire existential terror as much as awe at the expansive, creative power of the mind. In one dream, much to his horror, De Quincey describes being
buried, for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with mummies and sphynxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst the reeds and Nilotic mud.
As this passage might suggest, the influence of his work on later Gothic writers is palpable. Robert Lewis Stevenson and H. P. Lovecraft were admirers, while the genre as a whole surely owes something to his works’ preoccupation with and representation of the ‘sunless abysses’ and ‘depths below depths’ of the human subconscious (a term, in fact, that De Quincey coined). - Dr Alys Mostyn

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Extract from 'Confessions of an English opium-eater' by Thomas De Quincey (London: Taylor and Hessey, 1822). Brotherton Library class mark: BC NCC/DEQ.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Bibliography and Other De Quincey Resources Camlot, Jason and Michael E. Sinatra eds, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net (1996-present) [open access scholarly journal], containing numerous articles on De Quincey’s work Cannon Schmitt, Alien nation: nineteenth-century Gothic fictions and English nationality (Philadelphia, Pa: University of Pennsylvania Press, c1997) http://lib.leeds.ac.uk/record=b1917859

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Dr Alys Mostyn is a Teaching Fellow in Victorian and Romantic Literature at the University of Leeds. For more information on Dr Mostyn's research see http://bit.ly/1Yrmvv1

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Title page from the first edition of John Polidori's 'The Vampyre' (London: Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1819). Brotherton Library class mark: BC Gen/POL.

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Nearly eighty years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) John Polidori published his short tale The Vampyre (1819). Stoker’s text is by far the better known these days, but it was Polidori who first established the figure of the vampire within Gothic fiction, and his tale was a sensation in its time. Focused on the intense relationship between the closet vampire Lord Ruthven and his naïve companion Aubrey, the narrative follows their movement eastwards from the claustrophobic rooms of London society to the city of Rome and to exotically figured spaces in Greece, then back again to London, and to tragedy. Polidori was for a time the personal doctor of the poet Lord Byron. They travelled to Europe together and The Vampyre is deeply marked by the influence of Polidori’s charismatic patient. The story was inspired by a prose fragment penned by Byron during a writing competition among friends staying near Lake Geneva in 1816. (Mary Shelley was among the eminent company and for the same competition produced the story that would become Frankenstein (1818)). Moreover, the name of Polidori’s vampire was a pointed attempt to connect the tale’s evil protagonist to Byron himself, whose wicked reputation was well established in the minds of the English public: a corrupt character named ‘Lord Ruthven’ had already appeared in Lady Caroline Lamb’s novel Glenarvon (1816), and was widely known to be modelled on Byron, her former lover. When The Vampyre was first published in the New Monthly Magazine, its authorship was wrongly attributed to Byron. This was fortuitous; his literary renown and personal notoriety ensured that the tale met with a large and eager readership. Byron and Polidori – who were no longer friends – were both unhappy with the misattribution. Without it, however, the story may not have enjoyed the immediate popularity that it did or have paved the way quite so clearly for Stoker's Dracula and the proliferation of other vampire texts. - Dr Nick Ray

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Extract from 'A Letter from Geneva' which preceeds the text of 'The Vampyre' and gives details of the context in which it was written. Brotherton Library class mark: BC Gen/POL.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Context: The use of 'Lord Ruthven', the name of the protagonist modelled by Lady Caroline Lamb upon Lord Byron, is not the only attempt by Polidori to link his own vampiric protagonist to the romantic poet. Greece, where some of the most memorable passages of The Vampyre are set, was very dear to Byron, who in 1824 would die in Missolonghi fighting for Greek independence.

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Dr Nick Ray is a Lecturer in Critical and Cultural Theory in the School of English at the University of Leeds. To find our more about Dr Ray's research please visit: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/profile/20040/318/nicholas_ray

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Illustrated portrait of Edgar Allan Poe from 'The Raven, and, The Pit and the Pendulum' by Edgar Allan Poe (London: Smithers, 1899). Illustration by William Thomas Horton and Vincent O'Sullivan. Brotherton Library class mark: BC Gen q/POE.

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Edgar Allan Poe, 'The Pit and the Pendulum' (1842)
‘The Pit and the Pendulum’, written in 1842, was initially published in The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843 but has since been republished in other journals and in edited collections of Poe. Unlike what we might expect from Poe’s other short stories and poems, ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ does not make use of any aspects of the supernatural. The story, however, does play upon Poe’s extended motif of death anxiety. The story revolves around a prisoner captured as part of the Holy Inquisition and recounts the torture he undergoes. These forms of torture are the pit and the pendulum, both of which he narrowly avoids before the prison is liberated by French forces.
Critics claim Poe’s short story was taken directly from a short story by E. T. A. Hoffmann, however, David Lee Clark debunks this in ‘The Sources of Poe's the Pit and the Pendulum’ (1929). He suggests that critics have mistaken a different story, William Mudford’s ‘The Iron Shroud’, published in Blackwood’s journal in August 1830, for one written by Hoffmann. Even so, David Lee Clark argues that Poe’s short story is too dissimilar from Mudford’s to be a direct copy, and actually suggests other sources for ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’. He compares Poe to earlier American writers, such as Charles Brockden Brown and Nathaniel Hawthorne, positioning Poe’s text as central to the American literary canon. However, traditionally it is British and Irish writers who have covered the issue of the Holy Inquisition, such as in Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797), Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk: A Romance (1796), and Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer (1820). In renovating these key themes decades after his European predecessors, and writing from an American perspective, Poe is bringing to life the historical moment as part of a new Gothic movement in American literature and culture. - Emily Ennis

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Illustration from 'The Raven' featured in 'The Raven, and, The Pit and the Pendulum' by Edgar Allan Poe (London: Smithers, 1899). Illustration by William Thomas Horton and Vincent O'Sullivan. Brotherton Library class mark BC Gen q/POE.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Bibliography Kevin J. Hayes, The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe (Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2002) http://lib.leeds.ac.uk/record=b3275905 Edgar Allen Poe Society http://www.eapoe.org/ The Letters of Edgar Allan Poe http://www.library.virginia.edu/organization/etext/ The Poe Studies Association http://www2.lv.psu.edu/PSA/

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Emily Ennis is a PhD student in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Her thesis focuses on the relationship between literature and photography 1880-1920. For more details of her research see: http://bit.ly/1TbZ3il

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Extract from 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1850). Brotherton Library class mark BC 19c Bronte 1/BRO.

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Wuthering Heights(1847) was Emily Brontë’s only novel. She published it under the pseudonym ‘Ellis Bell’ and the novel remained anonymous until after her death in 1848. Early reviewers assumed that the novel was by a man, and whilst recognising its power they described it as coarse and disagreeable. One review, published in Graham’s Magazine of July 1848, called it ‘a compound of vulgar depravity and unnatural horrors.’ Charlotte Brontë, writing after her sister’s death passed her own judgement on the character of Heathcliff saying, ‘Whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff, I do not know: I scarcely think it is.’ Unlike her sister Charlotte Bronte, the author of Jane Eyre, Emily Brontë never ‘speaks’ to her readers. She does not address them directly, or allow her own opinion of events or characters to show. She tells the story through a series of narrators, each speaking from their own point of view. We first see ‘Wuthering Heights’, the dark, forbidding, moorland house, through the eyes of Lockwood, a stranger to the area. He is impressed by the ‘atmospheric tumult’ of its situation, and by the ‘crumbling griffins and shameless little boys’ carved onto its frontage. This authorial distance adds mystery to the supernatural aspects of the novel. Was Lockwood’s encounter with the ghost of Catherine a dream triggered by his reading of her diaries before falling asleep, or was it a real ghostly visitation? Again, did the shepherd boy really see the ghost of Heathcliff with a woman after Heathcliff’s death? Wuthering Heights emerged into a world which was already becoming familiar with the gothic novel, and yet it was still seen as profoundly shocking. Yet in 1883 Algernon Swinburne hinted at the beginnings of the change in readers’ opinions saying ‘It may be true that not many will ever take it to their hearts; it is certain that those who do like it will like nothing very much better in the whole world of poetry or prose.’ - Patricia Ayrton

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Title page for 'Wuthering Heights' (London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1850) featuring Emily Bronte's male pseudonym "Ellis Bell". Brotherton Library class mark BC 19c Bronte 1/BRO.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Patricia Ayrton is a second year doctoral student working in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Her thesis is based upon Emily Bronte's transcription of her EJB (Honresfeld) MS poems.

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

‘Walking the Landscape of Wuthering Heights’ http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/walking-the-landscape-of-wuthering-heights Some Contemporary Reviews of Wuthering Heights: http://www.wuthering-heights.co.uk/reviews.php Wuthering Heights : complete, authoritative text with biographical and historical contexts, critical history, and essays from five contemporary critical perspectives / Emily Brontë ed. Linda H. Peterson (Boston : Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press ; Basingstoke : Macmillan (distributor), c1992) http://lib.leeds.ac.uk/record=b1847591 100 Best Novels: Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Robert McCrum (Guardian) http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/16/emily-bronte-wuthering-heights-100-best

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Title page from a 1910 edition of 'Jane Eyre' published by Ward Lock. Brotherton Library class mark: BC 19c Bronte 3/BRO.

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Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)

Jane Eyre is a forerunner to late-nineteenth century literature described as ‘Imperial Gothic’, which explored contemporary anxieties surrounding the decline of the British Empire. Central to Bronte’s exploration of ‘Imperial Gothic’ is Bertha Mason, wife of Edward Rochester. Certain that the fortunes of Bertha’s parents - a West India planter and his ‘Creole’ wife - are ‘real and vast’, Rochester trades his ‘good race’ for Bertha’s substantial dowry. Her pale skin, dark hair and violent passions are typical of nineteenth-century depictions of ‘Creole’ people, descended from white European settlers but born in the colonies. Rochester attributes Bertha’s moral degeneracy or “madness” to her racial ambiguity: it is both hereditary, ‘passed down through three generations’, and symptomatic of her upbringing in Jamaica’s sultry climate. Described as a ‘clothed hyena’, a ‘demon’, Bertha is bestial, even monstrous. Rochester hopes to curb her corruption by incarcerating her at Thornfield Hall. Whilst Bronte’s depiction of Bertha may seem to uphold those racial stereotypes which justified the ostensibly civilising mission of British imperialism, a letter written to her publisher suggests otherwise: It is true that profound pity ought to be the only sentiment elicited by the view of such degradation […] I have erred in making horror too predominant. (Letter to W.S. Williams, 28th October 1847). Bronte’s regret that giving precedence to the Gothic may have prevented an appropriately sympathetic response to Bertha, suggests we should instead read Jane Eyre as an exploration of contemporary anxieties about the true cost of colonialism. By burning down Thornfield Hall, Bertha brings the horror and violence of slavery into the heart of a British, aristocratic home built on the wealth of a trade that was coming to be less palatable in the British consciousness. - Rowena English

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Extract from Ward Lock 1910 edition of 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte. Brotherton Library class mark: BC 19c Bronte 3/BRO.

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Extract from 1848 Tauchnitz edition of 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte. Brotherton Library class mark: BC 19c Bronte 3/BRO.

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First edition title page of 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte featuring her male pseudonym "Currer Bell" (London: Smith, Elder and Co, 1847). Brotherton Library class mark: BC 19c Bronte 3/BRO.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Historical Context: The fire in which Bertha dies takes place in 1833, the year Britain’s Parliament passed the Slavery Abolition Act. Notably, the committee responsible for considering the abolition of slavery was established one week after the public ex

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Rowena English holds a BA(hons) and an MA in English Literature from the University of Leeds. In addition to Gothic literature her research interests span the Renaissance and the Reformation. Rowena currently works in education and engag

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Bibliography Sue Thomas, Imperialism, reform, and the making of Englishness in Jane Eyre (Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) http://lib.leeds.ac.uk/record=b3022982 100 Best Novels: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Robert McCrum (Guardian) http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/09/100-best-novels-jane-eyre ‘Jane Eyre and the Nineteenth Century Woman’ http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/jane-eyre-and-the-19th-century-woman

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Title page illustration for 'The Familiar' by Edward Ardzzione, published in 'In a Glass Darkly' by Sheridan Le Fanu (London: Peter Davies, 1929). Brotherton Library class mark: Illustrated Books Collection B-2/ARD. Image reproduced with kind permission of The Estate of Edward Ardzzione.

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The striking title of Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 short story collection In a Glass Darkly is a misquotation of a biblical passage found in 1 Corinthians 13 in which humanity is described as encountering the world ‘through a glass darkly.’ The collection constitutes a showcase of Gothic motifs including premature burial (‘The Room in the Dragon Volante’) and the sinister double (‘Mr Justice Harbottle’). The opening story, ‘Green Tea’, provides a compelling example of the sub-genre or the medical Gothic. Indeed, the framing device of Dr Martin Hesselius, a proto-psychiatrist of dubious efficacy lends the whole collection an aspect of the medical Gothic. This sub-genre of the Gothic, the most well-known examples of which can be found in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, uses medical and scientific discourse as a way of interrogating the traditional Gothic preoccupation with the suffering human body and the fragility of the flesh. However, In a Glass Darkly is perhaps best known for the vampire tale ‘Carmilla’. Predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 26 years and widely anthologised, ‘Carmilla’ tells the story of Laura a young woman who is preyed on by a female vampire. The eroticised representation of same-sex female attraction that can be found in ‘Carmilla’ emerges from a context of strict religious and sexual mores and, despite the circumspect quality of Le Fanu’s depiction, ‘Carmilla’ remains one of the early examples of lesbian relationships in literature. Unlike Stoker’s Dracula, which is structured around the identification of, struggle with and ultimate destruction of vampiric presences, ‘Carmilla’ is defined by open-endedness and ambiguity as characters are introduced only to disappear from the narrative without explanation while Laura’s fate at the end of the tale is far from certain, typifying the occlusions that define Le Fanu’s occult collection. - Lucy Arnold

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Title page illustration for 'Carmilla' by Edward Ardzzione, published in 'In a Glass Darkly' by Sheridan Le Fanu (London: Peter Davies, 1929). Brotherton Library class mark: Illustrated Books Collection B-2/ARD. Image reproduced with kind permission of The Estate of Edward Ardzzione.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Lucy Arnold is a final year PhD student working in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Her thesis focuses on the evolution of the motif of the ghost and the situation of haunting in the work of Hilary Mantel. Her other research interests include psychoanalytic theory, Gothic literature and speculative fiction. She can be contacted at l.arnold@leeds.ac.uk

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Front cover of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson (Edinburgh: R. Grant and Son. 1946). Lithograph by Helen A. Martin. Brotherton Library class mark: BC Read B85.

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Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886)
Sometimes what is terrifying about gothic literature is what comes from outside; but at other times it is fear of what lurks within. Robert Louis Stevenson is best remembered for a tale that combines both of these. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was published in 1886 and quickly captured the public imagination. It was adapted for the stage in 1887, became a film in 1908, and has been regularly adapted, in print, on stage, and on screen, ever since.

Part of the story’s allure is its recognition of the darkness inside us. Charles Darwin’s arguments about humanity’s animal origins provided a scientific basis for older, religious ideas about the weakness of flesh and its appetite for sin. Although predating Freud’s ideas of the unconscious, the story also drew upon the developing science of psychology, particularly ideas of the divided self. Finally. in its characterization of Jekyll’s reckless self-doctoring, it also provides a version of the Faust story for the late nineteenth century. Jekyll gains the freedom to do what he wants in the shape of Hyde, but, because it results in his suicide, at the cost of his soul.

In its study of duality, Jekyll and Hyde also describes the late nineteenth-century city. With its description of foggy, lamplit streets, Jekyll and Hyde complements the London represented in Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories or the paintings of Walter Sickert. In 1885 a journalist, W.T. Stead, published a sensational exposéee of London’s seedy underground. This was a city in which anything was available to those with the means to keep their activities - Dr James Mussell

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Lithograph illustration by Helen A. Martin featured in 1946 edition of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Lithograph illustration by Helen A. Martin featured in 1946 edition of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Lithograph illustration by Helen A. Martin featured in 1946 edition of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Lithograph illustration by Helen A. Martin featured in 1946 edition of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Extract from 1946 edition of 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Dr James Mussell is an Associate Professor in the School of English at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on the 19th century literature and culture, media history and the history of science. For more information see: http://bit.ly/1OpL9r3

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Title page for 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde as first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1890. Brotherton Library class mark: Elliot Collection WIL.

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Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)
In 1891 Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) published his first and only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray to scathing reviews. Throughout the novel the protagonist Dorian struggles with his sexuality at a time when The Criminal Law Amendment Act (1885) had made homosexuality illegal. Four years after the publication of his novel, on 25th May 1895, Wilde was imprisoned for two years with ‘hard labour’ for ‘gross indecency’, after the father of his lover Lord Alfred Douglas threatened to expose the writer’s own homosexuality. The Picture of Dorian Gray was actually presented to the jury as incriminating evidence during the trial as it was thought to be semi-autobiographical, and therefore immoral, despite Wilde declaring that he had tried to play down this aspect of the novel for his readers. The novel appeared during the fin de siècle when the Gothic style was again being revived, both architecturally and in the literary world. Where previous authors of Gothic novels from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century had relied on exotic locations and medieval buildings to incite fear in their readers, Wilde brought the Gothic into the ‘naughty nineties’ by depicting an urban city setting filled with the opium dens and gentlemen’s clubs that many of his readers would have been familiar with. As a keen follower of the Aesthetic movement that championed ‘art for art’s sake’, it is no surprise that Wilde chose a painting as the central motif in his novel that would haunt the text and torment his protagonist. The painting becomes a monstrous doppelgänger (double) of Dorian, and its gradual decay can be read as an example of degeneration or deteriorating morals, traits often associated with homosexuality and promiscuity during the late-Victorian period. - Rachel Mace

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Rachel Mace is a PhD student working in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Rachel is currently working on her doctoral thesis entitled 'Gothic Representation in the Work of Thomas Hardy.'

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Front cover of 1927 Rider edition of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'. Brotherton Library class mark: BC 19c Stoker/STO.

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Dracula, written in 1897 is by far the most famous of Bram Stoker’s texts. The character of Dracula has himself become a cultural icon. This may be due, in part, to the sensationalist and theatrical nature of the novel itself. From 1896-97 a very early film produced by Georges Méliès called Le Manoir du diable was shown in London. The two-minute film included what is considered to be the first filmic representation of the figure of the vampire and contains many vampire tropes visible in both Stoker’s novel and later film representations, such as shape-shifting, control over women, and vulnerability to religious artefacts. At the time, Bram Stoker was working in London as a manager at the Lyceum theatre, meaning that he almost certainly saw Méliès’s film and positioned the novel Dracula in relation to it. Alongside cinema, the novel has distinct preoccupations with new forms of technology, such as the typewriter and the phonograph. Aligning these newer technologies with the more ancient aspects of the Gothic allows Stoker to position the fear of the undead in contemporary technologically-advanced culture. Many critics have also made the comparison between the character of Dracula and Jack the Ripper, whose murders were infamous at the time of the novel’s publication. However, the mythology behind the novel remains inherently and historically Gothic. The novel makes reference to Vlad the Impaler and other Eastern European folk lore, which gives the opening of the novel in particular a distinctly eerie setting. Whitby Abbey, also mentioned in the novel, is surrounded by myths and ghosts of premature burial. However, more recently critics have begun to look at Irish folklore, which Stoker took particular interest in while growing up in Ireland. Perhaps most significantly, critics have suggested that Dracula owes much of its style and content to his Irish predecessor Sheridan Le Fanu, whose vampire story Carmilla (1871-2) predates Dracula. - Emily Ennis

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Extract from 1927 Rider edition of Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'.

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Letter from H. M. Alden to Bram Stoker, October 29th 1899, p. 1. Brotherton Library class mark: BC MS 19c Stoker/01.

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Letter from H. M. Alden to Bram Stoker, October 29th 1899, p. 2. Brotherton Library class mark: BC MS 19c Stoker/01.

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Letter from Robert Leighton to Bram Stoker, June 1st 1897, p. 1. Brotherton Library class mark: BC MS 19c Stoker/01.

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Letter from Robert Leighton to Bram Stoker, June 1st 1897, p. 2. Brotherton Library class mark: BC MS 19c Stoker/01.

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Emily Ennis is a PhD student in the School of English at the University of Leeds. Her thesis focuses on the relationship between literature and photography 1880-1920. For more details of her research see: http://bit.ly/1TbZ3il

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Extract from 'Whistle and I'll come to you, my Lad', one of M.R James most famous short stories. 'The Ghost Stories of M. R. James' by M. R. James (London: Arnold, 1974). Brotherton Library class mark: BC Read D2898

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The Ghost Stories of M.R. James (1904-25)
James’s tales are full of meddlers. His protagonists – scholars, antiquarians, and collectors – should know better, but find themselves at the mercy of whatever it is they unearth. James knew this world. An expert in medieval manuscripts with a particular interest in Biblical apocrypha (texts from Biblical times or featuring Biblical events but not part of the Bible proper), James knew his way around both remote archaeological sites and dusty libraries. From 1893 he was Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, a treasure-house of antiquities gathered from all over the world. James’s tales of curious scholars haunted by the objects of their curiosity were peculiarly close to home. James stayed at Cambridge until after the First World War, when he became Provost of Eton College. The world of James’s stories is a gentlemanly one, where bachelors are free to pursue their scholarly interests. Women feature, but usually only in the margins of the texts; the focus, instead, is on the scholar’s passion for whatever it is he is researching. These men are usually comfortable in their lives, but noticeably uneasy in the modern world. Yet they find that it is the past that contains horrors, not the present. And in James these horrors are truly nasty. These are not ethereal phantoms, but real, physical creatures, fierce, aggressive, and relentless. M.R. James deeply understood the seductive nature of scholarship. His protagonists, rooting around in old churches and stumbling across forgotten artefacts, try to bring the past closer to the present. James knew that there was something pleasurable about this, about how research can become obsessive and how collecting can easily slip into selfish hoarding. James knew that bringing the past to life was risky: even though he was in charge of a museum, the lesson of James’s tales was to leave such things alone. The past may be fascinating but disturbing it can prove deadly. Dr J. Mussell

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Front cover illustration of 'The Ghost Stories of M. R. James' featuring an engraving by Samuel Reed entitled 'Christmas Reflections', first published in the 'Illustrated London News' in December 1857.

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M. R. James signature taken from a document on the adoption of Eton (Meuse) by Eton College. Brotherton Library class mark:MS/DEP/1990/1/2050

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Title page from Volume XII of the London Mercury in which two of James' stories, 'A View from the Hill' and 'A Warning to the Curious' were first published. Brotherton Library class mark: English A-0.01/LON

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lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Dr James Mussell is an Associate Professor in the School of English at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on the 19th century literature and culture, media history and the history of science. For more information see: http://bit.ly/1OpL9r3

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Front cover image for H.P Lovecraft's 'The Lurking Fear and Other Stories' (London: Panther, 1964). Brotherton Library class mark: S/F/LOV.

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H.P Lovecraft, The Lurking Fear and Other Stories (1922)
H. P. (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft (1890-1937) is a writer primarily known for his short horror fictions, most of which were published in pulp magazines, such as Weird Tales, in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s. He cited Edgar Allen Poe as his greatest influence, but also drew on the work of other mid- to late-Victorian writers such as Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, and Algernon Blackwood. As with much Neo-Gothic work of this period, Lovecraft’s fictions frequently express fears about miscegenation (the intermixing of different races) and degeneration (the regression of mankind to an earlier evolutionary state). Notable examples in this vein include the ‘Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family’ (1921), ‘The Dunwich Horror’ (1929), and, most famously, ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ (1936). This has often resulted in his work being termed racist, and not without cause. Less controversial are the ‘cosmic horrors’ of Lovecraft’s fiction: musings on the terrors of an infinite universe and the unknown and inconceivable mechanisms that govern it. It is from this strand of his fiction that his famous ‘Cthulhu Mythos’ stems: his legends of monstrous, pan-dimensional, god-like beings whose doings are intertwined in mysterious ways with the history of humanity.
His impact on popular culture has been significant. Lovecraftian allusions turn up in the writing of authors such as Neil Gaiman and, graphic novelist, Alan Moore. Even more marked, perhaps, is his influence on horror cinema, with directors such as Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi, and John Carpenter referencing his work. The xenomorphs, from the Alien film series, were also, according to their creator H. R. Giger, inspired in part by Lovecraft’s monsters. The famous ‘chest-bursting’ scene from the first film recalls a particularly gruesome incident towards the end of Lovecraft’s ‘The Dreams in the Witch House’ (1933). - Dr Alys Mostyn

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

About the Author: Dr Alys Mostyn is a Teaching Fellow in Victorian and Romantic Literature at the University of Leeds. For more information on Dr Mostyn's research see http://bit.ly/1Yrmvv1

lucy_arnold — 1 year ago

Further Reading and Other Lovecraft Resources Joshi, S. T. and David E. Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981) Joshi, S. T. and Marc Michaud eds, Lovecraft Studies Joshi, S. T., Donovan K. Lo

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Bibliography - Print and Web Resources

Online
Discovering Literature: Gothic (Resource produced by the British Library)
http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/themes/the-gothic
Norton Anthology of English Literature, ‘The Gothic: Overview’
http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/romantic/topic_2/welcome.htm
BBC. ‘A Timeline of Gothic Fiction’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zyp72hv
Project Gutenberg ‘Gothic Fiction Bookshelf’ (Links to online copies of prominent Gothic Texts)
https://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Gothic_Fiction_(Bookshelf)
Centre for the History of the Gothic < http://www.sheffieldhistoryofthegothic.group.shef.ac.uk/>
Gothic Reading Group Blog <http://sheffieldgothicreadinggroup.blogspot.co.uk/>
The Guardian - Gothic Books in Pictures
http://www.theguardian.com/books/interactive/2014/may/09/reading-gothic-novel-pictures

Print
Marshall Brown, The Gothic Text (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005)
Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick, The Coherence of Gothic Conventions (New York; London: Methuen, 1998)
David Punter, A Companion to the Gothic (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999)
David Stevens, The Gothic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000)

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Photography: Thanks for all of the images used in this resource goes to the Digitisation Team at the University of Leeds Library. To learn more about the work of the Digitisation Team or to enquire about a digitisation project of your own you can contact the team at digital@leeds.ac.uk. Follow this link to see more of the team's work and to learn about the production of digital surrogates for the new Special Collections Treasures Gallery at the University of Leeds: https://blog.library.leeds.ac.uk/blog/special-collections/post/405

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