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Incest and beyond

scientific insights. The interdisciplinary approach enables readings that expose the ways in which different incestuous relationships engage with eighteenth-century concerns over family, social obligation, individual rights, inheritance laws and desire. The fruits of this broad methodology are evidenced through recent works on the Gothic such as Diana Wallace and Andrew Smith’s The Female Gothic: New

in Gothic incest
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Gender, sexuality and transgression

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.

Re-examining paradigms of sibling incest

figures. The relationships between female characters and their brothers or brother-substitutes are often fraught with underlying incestuous desires that are expressed as hidden subtext or explicit incestuous love. In contrast to the potential for abuses of power with which father–daughter relationships are endowed by the nature of the familial bond, the relationships between siblings are grounded in a

in Gothic incest
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Cousins and the changing status of family

‘My Welch cousin is the very thing for a tête à tête.’ Charlotte Smith, Emmeline ( 1788 ) 1 Amongst the many tangled familial relationships in the Gothic that are fraught with incestuous desires and

in Gothic incest
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Thefts, violence and sexual threats

novel are ones in which sexual threats are underpinned by financial entanglements and legal issues, often to a greater extent than is the case with other familial relationships. Representations of family, finance, property, law and ownership are examined frequently by scholars of the Gothic, but within the context of uncle–niece relationships that are complicated by incestuous desires these ideas are

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

with extravagant thoughts, and too often with criminal propensities. 11 Within this context of condemnation of the romance as socially and morally destructive, Leland's advertisement of Longsword as ‘an historical romance’ is notable, suggesting what E.J. Clery calls ‘[t]he return of romance to eighteenth-century fiction’. 12 Similarly, Walpole's stated desire ‘to blend the two kinds of romance, the ancient and the modern’ marked a turning point in

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

the Female Gothic, predicated on the notion of children desiring the opposite-sex parent who raises them and seeing the same-sex parent as a rival. Sigmund Freud argued that ‘the simplest course for the child would be to choose as his sexual objects the same person whom, since his childhood, he has loved with what may be described as a damped-down libido’. 5 Freud believed that incestuous desires rearoused

in Gothic incest
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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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Disrupting the critical genealogy of the Gothic

reviewer of Eliza Parsons’s The Castle of Wolfenbach ( 1793 ), a Gothic novel that, like Walpole’s play, centres on incestuous desire, reads the work ‘with pleasure’. This is quite a departure from Burney’s and Coleridge’s reactions to reading the incestuous plot in Walpole’s play. In fact, although the villains in Parsons’s novel are described as ‘too darkly tinctured’ and the quality of writing is not

in Gothic incest
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The cartographic consciousness of Irish gothic fiction

, violence, and distress to be discovered at the long-desired home. In other works, as discussed in the final section of this chapter, the characters’ experiences abroad, although often presented as digressions from a more central concern with Ireland, are positively construed as the key to the restoration of rights at home and the construction of new national identities in the wake of the 1798 Rebellion and the Anglo-Irish Union. These figures strikingly evidence a decided interest in ‘home’ settings in Romantic-era Irish gothic literary production

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