Shakespearean Gothic

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As evidenced by the vampires, werewolves, and other frights overrunning the best-seller lists, the Gothic remains immensely popular. This collection of essays traces the roots of the Gothic to an unexpected source: eighteenth-century interpretations of Shakespeare. Through close attention to literary, cultural, and historical detail, the contributors demonstrate that even as Shakespeare was being established as the supreme British writer, he was also being cited as justification for early Gothic writers’ ...

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Overview

As evidenced by the vampires, werewolves, and other frights overrunning the best-seller lists, the Gothic remains immensely popular. This collection of essays traces the roots of the Gothic to an unexpected source: eighteenth-century interpretations of Shakespeare. Through close attention to literary, cultural, and historical detail, the contributors demonstrate that even as Shakespeare was being established as the supreme British writer, he was also being cited as justification for early Gothic writers’ abandonment of literary decorum and their interest in the supernatural.

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Editorial Reviews

Georgianna Ziegler

“As one in a new series of books on the Gothic, this is an important volume for anyone interested in Shakespeare, in late eighteenth-century fiction and theatre, or in the intellectual history of English literature. The essays are divided into three groups that move progressively from the ways in which Gothic writers such as Walpole, Radcliffe and Ireland used Shakespeare as means of empowerment for their own agendas, through the adaptation of Shakespeare’s works in Gothic writing, and finally to readings that find Gothic elements in Shakespeare. . . . For Shakespeareans, this book will open new perspectives on well-known plays. . . . All of the essays in this volume are strong and add important voices to the discussion of Shakespeare’s reception in the eighteenth century and later.”—Georgianna Ziegler, Folger Shakespeare Library

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Christy Desmet is associate professor of English and Anne Williams is professor of English, both at the University of Georgia.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

List of Illustrations

List of Contributors

Introduction

PART I: GOTHIC APPROPRIATIONS OF ‘SHAKESPEARE’

1        Reading Walpole Reading Shakespeare

Anne Williams

 

2        Ann Radcliffe, ‘The Shakespeare of Romance Writers’

Rictor Norton

 

3        The Curse of Shakespeare

Jeffrey Kahan

 

PART II: REWRITING SHAKESPEARE’S PLAYS AND CHARACTERS

4        Shakespearean Shadows’ Parodic Haunting of Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey

Marjean D. Purinton and Marliss C. Desens

5        Fatherly and Daughterly Pursuits: Mary Shelley’s Matilda and Shakespeare’s King Lear

Carolyn A. Weber

 

6        Into the Madman’s Dream: the Gothic Abduction of Romeo and Juliet

Yael Shapira

 

7        Gothic Cordelias: the Afterlife of King Lear and the Construction of Femininity

Diane Long Hoeveler

 

PART III: SHAKESPEARE AS A GOTHIC WRITER

8        ‘We are not safe’: History, Fear and the Gothic in Richard III

Jessica Walker

 

9        Remembering Ophelia: Ellen Terry and the Shakespearizing of Dracula

Christy Desmet

 

10    ‘Rites of Memory’: the Heart of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet

Susan Allen Ford

 

Afterword: Shakespearean Gothic

Frederick Burwick

 

Bibliography

Index

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