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The Gothic Body


  • Page extent: 220 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.32 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521607117 | ISBN-10: 0521607116)

Readers familiar with Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde may not know that dozens of equally remarkable Gothic texts were written in Great Britain at the end of the nineteenth-century. This book accounts for the resurgence of Gothic, and its immense popularity, during the British fin de siècle. Kelly Hurley explores a key scenario that haunts the genre: the loss of a unified and stable human identity, and the emergence of a chaotic and transformative 'abhuman' identity in its place. She shows that such representations of Gothic bodies are strongly indebted to those found in nineteenth-century biology and social medicine, evolutionism, criminal anthropology, and degeneration theory. Gothic is revealed as a highly productive and speculative genre, standing in opportunistic relation to nineteenth-century scientific and social theories.

• Timely study, revealing for the first time the importance of the Gothic to fin-de-siècle literature and culture • Draws important links between literary genre and scientific and social theories of the time • Sets popular texts such as Dracula and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in their literary, social and scientific context


Introduction; Part I. The Gothic Material World: 1. The revenge of matter; 2. Symptomatic readings; Part II. Gothic Bodies: 3. Evolutionism and the loss of human specificity; 4. Entropic bodies; 5. Chaotic bodies; Part III. Gothic Sexualities: 6. Uncanny female interiors; 7. Abjected masculinities; Afterword; 8. Narrative chaos.

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