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Incest and beyond

. Catherine Spooner, Contemporary Gothic ( 2006 ) 1 This book has sought to bring to light the variety of incestuous configurations in the Gothic. In order to do this, I have relied not only on existing literary scholarship, but also on a broad methodological approach that includes anthropological, political, philosophical, legal and

in Gothic incest
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‘Gothicism’, ‘historicism’, and the overlap of fictional modes from Thomas Leland to Walter Scott

-Catholic element of the story focuses not so much on the abuses of the Church but on a kind of institutional corruption that is seen to plague even the highest realms of the nation. 3 In fact, much of the narrative appears to function as a veiled political commentary, lamenting the weakness of a monarch who has allowed himself to be governed completely by an evil minion and urging the return to ‘a wise and virtuous rule’ rooted in England's long history of liberty. 4 The restitution of such a rule and the king's regained sovereignty by the novel's conclusion indicates Leland

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829
Father– daughter incest and the economics of exchange

– in concrete systems of social relationships.’ 31 Rubin resists Lévi-Strauss’s structural anthropological understanding of the incest taboo as the basis of culture because ‘there is an economics and a politics to sex/gender systems which is obscured by the concept of “exchange of women”’. 32 I use these approaches to position the exchange of women as a necessary though not natural demand of

in Gothic incest
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The cartographic consciousness of Irish gothic fiction

its prominent use of the ‘explained supernatural’ and its tale of abduction, imprisonment, and thwarted love centred in the secret, subterranean passageways of Glanville Castle, the Castle of Dromore, and the nearby Monastery of Morne. At the same time, it bears a significant resemblance to the regional and national fictions of Edgeworth and Owenson. Its conclusion, envisioning the amicable end to the violent clan warfare at the heart of its narrative, maps the political onto the private in the symbolic marriages of once feuding families, thus evoking the nationally

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829
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Location the Irish gothic novel

critical periods in Ireland's history’, as Charlene Adair observes. 12 ‘Conjugal fidelity’ seems similarly to react to the popular unrest and heightened social tensions caused by Irish entanglement in the Free Trade debate of 1778–81 and accompanying ‘political dispute between the Irish patriots and the Castle government’. 13 Its depiction of spiteful Catholic priests prowling the ‘wretched’ Irish countryside in search of victims effectively manipulates Protestant fears of Catholic restlessness in the late 1770s (‘Conjugal fidelity’, p. 186). It correspondingly

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829
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Female sexual agency and male victims

. That research across a range of fields suggests there are links between positions of power, non-maternal instincts and dangerous sexual promiscuity illuminates the sociopolitical investment in maintaining the myth of biologically determined gender ideologies. These ideologies, enforced by the mother’s position as nurturer or deviant, are equally informed by the sexual politics of power and desire as

in Gothic incest
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Romances, novels, and the classifications of Irish Romantic fiction

’. 74 Owenson's increased reliance on the literary gothic as her career progressed is in keeping with her growing scepticism about the potential for political stability in Ireland. It also fits in well with conventional readings of the evolution of the national tale as a form. Both Ina Ferris and Katie Trumpener suggest that, from its inception in 1806, the national tale was influenced by but distinct from the literary gothic, preserving that difference for several years before the gothic dramatically (re)introduced itself. Ferris thus claims that Maturin's The

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829
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Cousins and the changing status of family

require a prohibition. 13 The changing structures that allowed the cousin to, in certain circumstances, become a desirable marriage choice positions this family role as alternately kin or non-kin, one that is capable of a flexibility that renders it particularly profitable to politically conservative and radical writers of the Gothic. One of the difficulties faced in attempting to trace

in Gothic incest
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Disrupting the critical genealogy of the Gothic

as Terry Eagleton and Raymond Williams. Gramsci understood hegemony as the consent of society to be dominated by force; a consent that is engendered partially through the use of ideology as ‘an instrument of domination and social hegemony’. 16 Gramsci clarifies that ideologies operate as weapons wielded by the dominant social or political class in order to create a consensually subordinate society. He argues that

in Gothic incest
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Regina Maria Roche, the Minerva Press, and the bibliographic spread of Irish gothic fiction

of ‘sentiment and power’ in that novel's twinned discourses on sensibility and colonial politics. 103 The heroine's choice of Clarence Hervey over the Creole planter Mr Vincent, Connolly argues, relies not only on her beliefs about ‘first love’ but also on her discovery of his lack of feeling in his treatment of his servant, Juba. 104 Rejecting Mr Vincent, Belinda registers her disdain for ‘the disgraceful extensions of sympathy characteristic of its mobilization within discourses of empire’. 105 She also effectively asserts her preference for her home in

in The gothic novel in Ireland, c. 1760–1829