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Gender, sexuality and transgression
Author: Jenny DiPlacidi

This book demonstrates that incest was representative of a range of interests crucial to writers of the Gothic, often women or homosexual men who adopted a critical stance in relation to the heteronormative patriarchal world. In repositioning the Gothic, representations of incest are revealed as synonymous with the Gothic as a whole. The book argues that extending the traditional endpoint of the Gothic makes it possible to understand the full range of familial, legal, marital, sexual and class implications associated with the genre's deployment of incest. Gothic authors deploy the generic convention of incest to reveal as inadequate heteronormative ideologies of sexuality and desire in the patriarchal social structure that render its laws and requirements arbitrary. The book examines the various familial ties and incestuous relationships in the Gothic to show how they depict and disrupt contemporary definitions of gender, family and desire. Many of the methodologies adopted in Gothic scholarship and analyses of incest reveal ongoing continuities between their assumptions and those of the very ideologies Gothic authors strove to disrupt through their use of the incest trope. Methodologies such as Freudian psychoanalysis, as Botting argues, can be positioned as a product of Gothic monster-making, showing the effect of Gothic conventions on psychoanalytic theories that are still in wide use today.

Open Access (free)
Disrupting the critical genealogy of the Gothic
Jenny DiPlacidi

incestuous capacity to her son in a scene that disrupts the gender ideologies informing conventional representations of incest in which men are the active abusers of women. Burney’s discomfort with the ‘dreadful’ and ‘atrocious’ work, typical of reactions to the play, indicates a sense of how deeply it troubles ideologies of gender and sexuality that implicitly inform readings of mother–son incest as the

in Gothic incest
Open Access (free)
Female sexual agency and male victims
Jenny DiPlacidi

described by scholars such as George E. Haggerty in Queer Gothic ( 2006 ), Luce Irigaray in This Sex Which is Not One ( 1977 ) and Michel Foucault in The History of Sexuality (1976). Examining the intersections of sexuality and power within the representations of mother–son incest in the Gothic reveals the complexities of the radical destabilisations of gender and heteronormativity occurring

in Gothic incest
Open Access (free)
Incest and beyond
Jenny DiPlacidi

, inheritance, social and familial structures, egalitarian relationships and the distribution of power were not schematically determined by an author’s gender or political or religious affiliations. By opening the genre up in such a way that gender and sexuality are not the primary categories of analysis, further paradigms of the incest convention – its complex configurations and their intersections with

in Gothic incest
Father– daughter incest and the economics of exchange
Jenny DiPlacidi

that the first sexual desire of children is towards their mothers, an argument explored further in Totem and Taboo (1912). 7 This theory, which stipulates that female desire and sexuality are developed in response to the father figure, allows first for a pre-Oedipal stage in which the daughter loves and bonds with the mother before turning to her desire and love for the father, a stage that engenders rivalry with the mother

in Gothic incest
Open Access (free)
Thefts, violence and sexual threats
Jenny DiPlacidi

barriers of taboo – incest, the murder of a brother, patricide’. 4 Within the realm of uncle–niece relationships these transgressions are combined with representations of property, genealogies and ideologies of gender and sexuality. Through an exploration of these thematics and the manner in which incestuous desires and threats become difficult, if not impossible, to extricate

in Gothic incest
Re-examining paradigms of sibling incest
Jenny DiPlacidi

. J. Clery refers to the Gothic combination of sexual, familial and economic restrictions that creates a constrained environment and forces the heroine to recognise ‘the inescapable bonds of kinship’. 13 The hidden identities of characters and these ‘inescapable bonds of kinship’ that are linked to sexuality are revealed by endowing kin with either strikingly similar or opposite traits. Relatives are

in Gothic incest
Open Access (free)
Cousins and the changing status of family
Jenny DiPlacidi

as a brother rather than a cousin, but there are still frissons of sexuality in the interaction. The label of brother does not preclude desire, as seen in Sleath’s depiction of the siblings Laurette and Enrico, but it is here shown as a safe way of exploring desires. 97 Desmond is positioned as an almost-suitor, a companion who offers the safety of kinship with the power of attraction. The cousin is a

in Gothic incest
Open Access (free)
‘Gothicism’, ‘historicism’, and the overlap of fictional modes from Thomas Leland to Walter Scott
Christina Morin

particular deployment of non-realist genres, such as sensation fiction, as Siobhán Kilfeather persuasively argued. 85 These genres ‘offered writers the opportunity to interrogate the mechanisms by which grand historical narratives invade and evacuate individual subjectivities in what are conventionally presented as the private spaces of home, family, and sexuality’. 86 To suggest, however, that non-realist genres were a particular marker of nineteenth-century Irish literary production is tacitly to reify traditional accounts of

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