Cloth ISBN: 9780804739122
Paper ISBN: 9780804739139
Romantic gothic fiction is not exciting. Gothic novels are not ghost stories. Gothic novels are not women's writing.
Opening with these three theses, The Gothic Text undertakes a fresh approach to a much-studied mode. Marshall Brown combines the teleological approach to literary history developed in his Preromanticism with a European perspective on the one truly international literary form of its era. New insights into literary history and the history of ideas provide a framework for innovative close readings—of Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Ann Radcliffe's The Italian, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, among others—that approach classics of the genre from unusual angles. The book also provides a thoroughly researched account of German romantic psychology as it developed out of Kant's idealist philosophy into a gothic sensibility. Accessibly written and argued in careful, lively detail, The Gothic Text gives many new impulses to the study of romanticism, nineteenth-century fiction, and the origins of psychoanalysis.
About the author
Marshall Brown is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. He is the author of Turning Points (Stanford, 1997) and Preromanticism (Stanford, 1991).
"Brown . . . takes a fresh approach to the gothic, leading the reader gingerly and often wittily toward the true meaning of the gothic sensibility from a broad European, rather than solely British, perspective."
"The story [Brown] tells converts the quirks and games of gothic fantasies into a dark and universal truth about the mysteries of human nature."
—Studies in Romanticism
"[The Gothic Text is] conveyed with such grace of style and such a range of reference here that every student of the Gothic and the Romantic and their relationship ought to take account of it from now on."
—European Romantic Review
"[A] highly readable and concisely coherent book."
—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts