Not fit to be mentioned: legal ghosts and displaced narratives in the Northanger 'Horrid' novels

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Title: Not fit to be mentioned: legal ghosts and displaced narratives in the Northanger 'Horrid' novels
Authors: Mangan, Christine
Advisor: O'Connell, Michelle; Fermanis, Porscha
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Date: 2015
Online since: 2015-08-13T16:31:30Z
Abstract: Once thought to be the fictitious creations of Jane Austen, the seven Gothic novels that comprise the ‘Northanger ‘Horrid’ Novels’ have been critically neglected since their rediscovery in the early twentieth century. For, despite repeated scholarship that posits Northanger Abbey as a pedagogical novel, references to the ‘Horrid’ novels have been primarily limited to brief allusions or disregarded entirely within criticism that confines them to hack or pulp writing of inferior quality. This thesis argues for the consideration of the ‘Horrid’ novels in their own right, examining how the presence of ‘temporally displaced narratives,’ that is, narratives which collapse the linear time of the central narrative and which focus exclusively on a minority public, ultimately serve as a signifier of absence. This study reads these texts as representative of authors motivated by an ideological agenda, ones whose narratives engage with the Gothic in order to recover narratives otherwise lost to a specifically male-authored history. The source of ‘terror,’ then, is located not in the traditional engagement of Gothic motifs, but rather, in the realities of eighteenth-century legal discourse. Exploring specific examples of patriarchal violence addressed within the temporally displaced narratives of the ‘Horrid’ novels, this study places particular emphasis upon the ways in which historically absented narratives are ‘recovered’ through the author’s engagement with and subversion of contemporary patriarchal law. These narratives of violent repression, written by both the ‘Horrid’ novels’ male and female authors, suggests that such narratives of subjugation are not exclusive to Female Gothic, and as such, proposes the need for a revision to the existing categorizations of Female and Male Gothic. This thesis ultimately demonstrates that the Northanger ‘Horrid’ Novels are worthy of independent examination, and that connections to Northanger Abbey need not be invoked in order to validate their inclusion within the canon of Gothic literature.
Type of material: Doctoral Thesis
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of English, Drama and Film
Qualification Name: Ph.D.
Copyright (published version): 2015 the author
Subject LCSH: Austen, Jane,--1775-1817--Northanger Abbey.
Gothic fiction (Literary genre), English--History and criticism
Horror tales, English--History and criticism
English fiction--19th century--History and criticism
Rape in literature
Homosexuality in literature
Women in literature
Women--England--Social conditions--19th century
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:English, Drama and Film Theses

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