Richard Marsh

Author(s) Minna Vuohelainen

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Gothic Authors: Critical Revisions

  • August 2015 · 208 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781783163397
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781783163403
  • · eBook - epub - 9781783163410

About The Book

‘Richard Marsh’ (Richard Bernard Heldmann, 1857–1915) was a bestselling, versatile and prolific author of gothic, crime, adventure, romantic and comic fiction. This book, the first on Marsh, establishes his credentials as a significant agent within the fin de siècle gothic revival. Marsh’s work spans a range of gothic modes, including the canonical fin de siècle subgenres of urban and imperial gothic and gothic-inflected sensation and supernatural fiction, but also rarer hybrid genres such as the comic gothic and the occult romance. His greatest success came in 1897 when he published his bestselling invasion narrative The Beetle: A Mystery, a novel that articulated many of the key themes of fin de siècle urban gothic and outsold its close rival, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, well into the twentieth century. The present work extends studies of Marsh’s literary production beyond The Beetle, contending that, in addition to his undoubted interest in non-normative gender and ethnic identities, Marsh was a writer with an acute sense of spatiality, whose fiction can be read productively through the lens of spatial theory.


‘Vuohelainen’s book opens up the treasure chest that is Richard Marsh’s fin-de-siècle gothic writing and shows convincingly how his tremendously influential The Beetle, as well as a host of other novels and short stories by the author, negotiates the dark and uncanny spaces of the turn-of-the-century urban landscape. Meticulously researched, theoretically precise and yet immensely readable, this book is a very welcome study of one of the most sorely neglected writers of the period, and a useful contribution to the understanding of how spatiality is constructed in Gothic writing.’
-Johan Höglund, Reader in English, Linnaeus University, Sweden

‘The author demonstrates that any consideration of fin-de-siècle gothic is incomplete without Richard Marsh. This book will change for good how we conceptualise the fin-de-siècle canon – Vuohelainen’s exploration of space and place in Marsh’s novels brings out a crucial dimension to the fin-de-siècle literary experience.’
-Dr Daniel Orrells, Warwick University

‘Vuohelainen’s study brings welcome attention to the multifaceted Richard Marsh, a figure whose importance to fin-de-siècle and Edwardian literary culture is increasingly now being recognised. This absorbing book makes a powerful case for considering Gothic fictions of the period in the light of spatial theory, and in so doing opens up new ways of thinking the relations between popular fiction and literary modernism that will capture the imaginations of scholars and students of both.’
-Dr Victoria Margree, University of Brighton

'Not only is Richard Marsh an excellent and in-depth study of Marsh’s work, showcasing the range of his output as well as its quality, but in doing so provides an excellent example of how to approach a monograph on a neglected writer. The book is supported by extensive notes and a detailed bibliography, including details of where Marsh’s short stories were published, making this a valuable resource in itself for those studying Marsh, or looking to. I would recommend Richard Marsh broadly: it naturally seems essential reading for anyone interested in Marsh and for its discussion of the importance of spatial theory and the Gothic, but as the conclusion makes clear Marsh and his works have much to offer anyone studying popular fiction, a huge range of genre fiction, and the fin-de-siècle.'
- Matthew Crofts, University of Hull in Revenant Journal. Read the full review here


Chapter 1: ‘Exactly where I was I could not tell’: panopticism, imageability and the Gothic city
Chapter 2: ‘The key of the street’: displacement, transit and Gothic flux
Chapter 3: Houses of mystery: liminal thresholds and Gothic interiors
Chapter 4: Laughing in the face of the authorities: haunting and heterotopia in Richard Marsh’s short supernatural fiction
Primary: volumes
Primary: periodical publication
Primary: archival sources

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Minna Vuohelainen

Minna Vuohelainen is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and MA Programme Leader at Edge Hill University. Her current research focuses on fin de siècle popular and print culture.

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