Record Nr.



Williams Anne <1947->


Art of darkness [[electronic resource] ] : a poetics of Gothic / / Anne Williams


Chicago, : University of Chicago Press, 1995





Descrizione fisica

1 online resource (325 p.)




English literature - 18th century - History and criticism - Theory, etc

English literature - 19th century - History and criticism - Theory, etc

Horror tales, English - History and criticism - Theory, etc

Gothic revival (Literature) - Great Britain

Romanticism - Great Britain


Electronic books.

Lingua di pubblicazione



Materiale a stampa

Livello bibliografico


Note generali

Description based upon print version of record.

Nota di bibliografia

Includes bibliographical references (p. 285-300) and index.

Nota di contenuto

Frontmatter -- CONTENTS -- ACKNOWLEDGMENTS -- INTRODUCTION. Gothic Fiction's Family Romances -- Part One. Riding Nightmares; or, What's Novel about Gothic? -- Part Two. Reading Nightmeres; or, The Two Gothic Traditions -- EPILOGUE. The Mysteries of Enlightenment; or Dr. Freud's Gothic Novel -- APPENDIX A. Inner and Outer Spaced The Alien Trilogy -- APPENDIX B. Gothic Families -- APPENDIX C. The Female Plot of Ghotic Fiction -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index


Art of Darkness is an ambitious attempt to describe the principles governing Gothic literature. Ranging across five centuries of fiction, drama, and verse-including tales as diverse as Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, Shelley's Frankenstein, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Freud's The Mysteries of Enlightenment-Anne Williams proposes three new premises: that Gothic is "poetic," not novelistic, in nature; that there are two parallel Gothic traditions, Male

and Female; and that the Gothic and the Romantic represent a single literary tradition. Building on the psychoanalytic and feminist theory of Julia Kristeva, Williams argues that Gothic conventions such as the haunted castle and the family curse signify the fall of the patriarchal family; Gothic is therefore "poetic" in Kristeva's sense because it reveals those "others" most often identified with the female. Williams identifies distinct Male and Female Gothic traditions: In the Male plot, the protagonist faces a cruel, violent, and supernatural world, without hope of salvation. The Female plot, by contrast, asserts the power of the mind to comprehend a world which, though mysterious, is ultimately sensible. By showing how Coleridge and Keats used both Male and Female Gothic, Williams challenges accepted notions about gender and authorship among the Romantics. Lucidly and gracefully written, Art of Darkness alters our understanding of the Gothic tradition, of Romanticism, and of the relations between gender and genre in literary history.