Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction

The British and American Traditions

  • Editors: Diane Long Hoeveler, Tamar Heller
  • Pages: xiv & 310 pp.
  • Published: 2003
  • ISBN: 9780873529075 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction Cover
Paperback ($19.75)

“An excellent, indispensable volume, which is impressive in its breadth, depth, and detail. It offers a wealth of material not only for anyone who teaches a course on Gothic traditions in Britain, Ireland, and the United States but also for anyone who teaches the nineteenth-century British novel in general, Sarah Orne Jewett, contemporary American film, or any number of other specific topics covered here. A substantial contribution to the field of Gothic studies.”

—Eugenia C. DeLamotte, Arizona State University

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.