Open Access (free)
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

is no fine writing in these volumes … but in point of moral tendency they are unexceptionable. Review (1794) of Eliza Parsons, Castle of Wolfenbach ( 1793 ) 2 Frances Burney’s assessment of Horace Walpole’s play The Mysterious Mother ( 1768 ) reflects a strong discomfort with its depiction of mother–son incest that

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

relationships between fathers and daughters were examined; in particular, how the transgressive nature of father–daughter incest can cause a breakdown of patriarchal society that is more complex than the conventional positioning of paternal incest as representative solely of a threat to the heroine. Incest in the Gothic does not, however, exist exclusively between heroines and their fathers and/or father

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

[O]‌n genetic grounds, mother–son incest should be the rarest, brother–sister more common, and father–daughter the most common. Joseph Shepher, Incest : A Biosocial View ( 1983 ) 1 In examining the occurrence of

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

Let a veil be drawn over the unimaginable sensations of a guilty father. Mary Shelley, Matilda ( 1959 ) 1 There are several problems that usually emerge in scholarship examining representations of father–daughter incest in the Gothic, even in works by scholars

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

potential of the genre to be reclaimed and evaluated in highly profitable ways. Scholarship on the Gothic was reinvigorated through its reclamation by feminist critics that helped to establish the genre’s importance as an intervention into the contemporary debates of the eighteenth century. Nor do I wish to distance myself from the feminist perspective that has allowed incest to be understood as an abuse of

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

, such as mother–son, father–daughter or brother–sister. The difficulty in coming to a clear consensus regarding the incestuous nature of cousin marriage is demonstrated by the irreconcilable differences between leading scientists and anthropologists on cousin incest. Sociobiologist Joseph Shepher argues that ‘most cultural forms of mating’, including preferential cousin marriages, ‘represent cultural

in Gothic incest
James Baldwin’s Just Above My Head
Jenny M. James

This article considers James Baldwin’s last published novel, Just Above My Head (1979), as the culmination of his exploration of kinship, reflecting on the ways distance and loss characterize African-American familial relations. By analyzing Baldwin’s representation of Hall Montana’s relationship to, and mourning of, his younger brother Arthur, this article argues that JAMH revises the terms of the black family to imagine an alternative, errant kinship that is adoptive, migratory, and sustained through songs of joy and grief. My approach to the novel’s portrayal of kinship is indebted to Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation (1990), in which he defines “errantry” as a fundamental characteristic of diaspora that resists the claustrophobic, filial violence and territorial dispossession that are slavery’s legacies. Baldwin represents errant kinship in JAMH through his inclusion of music and formal experimentation. Departing from previous scholarship that reads JAMH as emblematic of the author’s artistic decline, I interpret the novel’s numerous syntactic and figurative experiments as offering new formal insight into his portrait of brotherly love. Baldwin’s integration of two distinctive leitmotifs, blood and song, is therefore read as a formal gesture toward a more capacious and migratory kinship.

James Baldwin Review
New writers, new literatures in the 1990s
Editors: Gill Rye and Michael Worton

The 1990s witnessed an explosion in women's writing in France, with a particularly exciting new generation of writer's coming to the fore, such as Christine Angot, Marie Darrieussecq and Regine Detambel. This book introduces an analysis of new women's writing in contemporary France, including both new writers of the 1990s and their more established counter-parts. The 1990s was an exciting period for women's writing in France. The novels of Louise Lambrichs are brilliant but troubling psychological dramas focusing on the traumas that inhabit the family romance: incest, sterility, the death those we love and the terrible legacy of mourning. The body of writing produced by Marie Redonnet between 1985 and 2000 is an unusually coherent one. The book explores the possibility of writing 'de la mélancolie' through focusing on the work of Chantal Chawaf, whose writing may be described as 'melancholic autofiction', melancholic autobiographical fiction. It places Confidence pour confidence within Constant's oeuvre as a whole, and argues for a more positive reading of the novel, a reading that throws light on the trajectory of mother-daughter relations in her fiction. Christiane Baroche was acclaimed in France first as a short-story writer. Unable to experience the freedom of their brothers and fathers, beur female protagonists are shown to experience it vicariously through the reading, and the writing of, narratives. Clotilde Escalle's private worlds of sex and violence, whose transgressions are part of real lives, shock precisely because they are brought into the public sphere, expressed in and through writing.