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Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture

Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture

$146.00 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: October 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521863988

$ 146.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • It has long been recognised that the Gothic genre sensationalised beliefs and practices associated with Catholicism. Often, the rhetorical tropes and narrative structures of the Gothic, with its lurid and supernatural plots, were used to argue that both Catholicism and sexual difference were fundamentally alien and threatening to British Protestant culture. Ultimately, however, the Gothic also provided an imaginative space in which unconventional writers from John Henry Newman to Oscar Wilde could articulate an alternative vision of British culture. Patrick O'Malley charts these developments from the origins of the Gothic novel in the mid-eighteenth century, through the mid-nineteenth-century sensation novel, toward the end of the Victorian Gothic in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure. O'Malley foregrounds the continuing importance of Victorian Gothic as a genre through which British authors defined their culture and what was outside it.

    • Close analysis of works by Thomas Hardy, Ann Radcliffe, Oscar Wilde, John Henry Newman
    • Provides a new perspective on the Gothic in the light of religious and sexual politics of the time
    • Covers a wide historical period yet provides detail needed to understand the context of the works
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'O'Malley's impeccably researched Catholicism, Sexual Deviance and the Gothic serves as a valuable reminder of the centrality nonetheless of issues of religious belief to Victorian public and private life. … O'Malley elegantly traces the history of the anti-Catholic anxiety, ranging fluently across responses to Ritualism and the Oxford Movement as well as to European Catholicism in sources such as Punch, polemic pamphlets and periodical writing. His account of how Ruskin appropriates and naturalises Gothic as the normative English identity, and of how Protestantism is appropriated as the original Christian church - and Catholicism a heretical deviation - is excellent. … The accounts of the novels are at their strongest in the attention paid to crucial details, where close reading teases elaborate meanings from Stoker's use of physiognomy, or from figurative language in novels of Walter Pater. … readers will find their sense of all of the texts he discusses enlarged.' Advance Access

    'This is a study 'dedicated to the task of tracing the metaphorical gargoyles and arches that produced nineteenth-century British concepts of sexual and religious difference' and it does so with wit, theoretical dexterity and scholarly depth.' Andrew Tate, University of Lancaster

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2006
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521863988
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.615kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: skeletons in the cloister
    1. Goths and Romans: the literature of Gothic from Radcliffe to Ruskin
    2. 'The Church's closet': Victorian Catholicism and the crisis of interpretation
    3. Domestic Gothic: unveiling Lady Audley's Secret
    4. The blood of the saints: vampirism from Polidori to Stoker
    5. 'Monstrous and terrible delight': the aesthetic Gothic of Pater and Wilde
    6. Conclusions: Oxford's ghosts and the end of the Gothic
    Works cited.

  • Author

    Patrick R. O'Malley, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Patrick R. O'Malley is Assistant Professor of English at Georgetown University.

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