Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction: The British and American Traditions

Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction: The British and American Traditions



Recent decades have seen a revival of scholarly interest in Gothic fiction. Critics are attracted to the genre's exploration of irrationality, to its dark representation of the bourgeois family and of the psychological effects of social conflict. Because of this critical interest and because of the enduring popularity of the genre from the eighteenth century to the present, the Gothic has become increasingly visible on college syllabi. This volume, like others in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," gives information on available editions, anthologies, reference works, background sources, critical studies, films, and Web sites of value in teaching Gothic fiction. The second part, "Approaches," contains twenty-eight essays that define the genre; examine its connections to history, philosophy, feminism, social criticism; show its different forms in England, Ireland, the United States; and probe its themes--including such motifs as ghosts, castles, entrapped heroines, and animated corpses. Among the many authors discussed are Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Wilkie Collins, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Toni Morrison.



Publication Date



Modern Language Association of America


New York


English Language and Literature


Table of Contents

Materials / Tamar Heller

Introduction / Diane Long Hoeveler and Tamar Heller

"And still insists he sees the ghosts”: defining the Gothic / Judith Wilt

Philosophy and the Gothic novel / Marshall Brown

The Gothic and ideology / Robert Miles

Teaching the Gothic through the visual arts / Stephen C. Behrendt

The horrors of misogyny: feminist psychoanalysis in the Gothic classroom / Anne Williams

Teaching the Gothic and the scientific context / Carol A. Senf

The first English Gothic novel: Walpole's 'The castle of Otranto' / James Norton

Early women's Gothic writing: historicity and canonicity in Clara Reeve's 'The old English baron' and Sophia Lee's 'The recess' / Angela Wright

Teaching the early female canon: Gothic feminism in Wollstonecraft, Radcliffe, Austen, Dacre, and Shelley / Diane Long Hoeveler

Suffering through the Gothic: teaching Radcliffe / Cannon Schmitt

Teaching the male Gothic: Lewis, Beckford, and Stevenson / Scott Simpkins

Teaching the homosocial in Godwin, Hogg, and Wilde / Ranita Chatterjee and Patrick M. Horan

Teaching the Gothic novel and dramatic adaptations / Marjean D. Purinton

Teaching Irish Gothic: big-house displacements in Maturin and Le Fanu / Mark M. Hennelly, Jr.

Fear of furniture: commodity Gothicism and the teaching of Victorian literature / Tricia Lootens

Hearts of darkness: teaching race, gender, and imperialism in Victorian Gothic literature / Tamar Heller

Surveying the vampire in nineteenth-century British literature / Daniel Scoggin

Teaching contemporary female Gothic: Murdoch, Carter, Atwood / Susan Allen Ford

Historicizing the American Gothic: Charles Brockden Brown's 'Wieland' / Teresa A. Goddu

Using narrative form to teach Poe's Gothic fiction / Richard Fusco

Teaching the doppelgänger in American Gothic fiction: Poe and James / A.A. Markley

The fall of the house of the seven gables and other ambiguities of the American Gothic / Laura Dabundo

Supernatural transmissions: turn-of-the-century ghosts in American women's fiction: Jewett, Freeman, Wharton, and Gilman / Kathy Justice Gentile

Teaching the African American Gothic: from its multiple sources to 'Linden Hills' and 'Beloved' / Jerrold E. Hogle

Making the case: teaching Stephen King and Anne Rice through the Gothic tradition / Bette B. Roberts

Teaching the Gothic in an interdisciplinary honors class / Sandy Feinstein

Involving resistant readers: exploring the Gothic through role-playing and identity writing / Mark James Morreale

Teaching Gothic literature through filmic adaptations / Wheeler Winston Dixon

Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction: The British and American Traditions