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Shakespearean Gothic

Editor(s): Christy Desmet Anne Williams

Language: English

Genre(s): History

Series: Gothic Literary Studies

October 2009192 pages216x138mm

Hardback - 9780708320938 Paperback - 9780708320921 eBook - epub - 9781783163717 eBook - mobi - 9781783163724 eBook - pdf - 9780708322628

About The Book

This collection of essays explores the thesis that Shakespeare as we know him today was born in the eighteenth century, at the same time as the Gothic tradition, first named by Horace Walpole in 1764. The two are inextricable. Writers interested in pursuing ‘Gothic’ themes and forms (the supernatural events and generic hybrids decried by French neoclassicism) justified their aesthetic choices as following the example of their great – and emphatically English – precursor. They cited him in their epigraphs and appropriated his narratives. They echoed his language and imitated his dramatic devices. Like Shakespeare, they explored the ways in which familial ghosts may haunt the present. Like him, they mixed modes and genres: tragedy and comedy, verse and prose. Together, critics of Shakespeare and creators of the Gothic (often one and the same author) not only canonized England’s secular saint and created a new literary mode; they collectively initiated a mode of subjectivity that remains with us today in both high and popular culture.


"This book offers many fresh ways of reading both Shakespeare's plays and the more entrenched Gothic novels". Sarah Pike, University of Stirling website


1) Gothic Appropriations of “Shakespeare”; 2) Rewriting Shakespearean Plays and Characters; 3) Shakespeare Before/After the Gothic.

About the Editor(s)

Christy Desmet

Christy Desmet is associate professor of English at the University of Georgia.

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Anne Williams

Anne Williams is professor of English at the University of Georgia.

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