Servants and the Gothic, 1764-1831

A half-told tale

Author(s) Kathleen Hudson

Language: English

Genre(s): Literary Criticism

Series: Gothic Literary Studies

  • December 2018 · 256 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786833396
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786833402
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786833419

About The Book

This volume provides readers with a comprehensive literary and historical basis for understanding servant characters and servant narratives in the early Gothic mode. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, servants were ‘othered’ figures whose voices had the potential to undermine socio-political and personal identity. This study recasts servant characters within the early Gothic mode as ‘narrators’ who verbally or non-verbally perform dialogue, moral insights and folkloric or gossip-based stories. Examining the development of servant narrative within the early Gothic mode, Servants and the Gothic outlines the socio-historical and literary influences which defined the servant voice during the eighteenth century, as well as identifying and expanding upon the ways in which servant narratives contributed to each author’s unique goals. It redefines servant narratives as a Gothic ‘performance’, a self-conscious self-examination of the ways in which a Gothic narrative impacts literary, social and personal identity.


‘Servants and the Gothic offers a fresh, engaging perspective on the genre. By drawing attention to the liminal, often oppositional voices of servant characters in a range of novels, plays and bluebooks, it illuminates the Gothic’s narrative bricolage and its interrogation of established social and literary structures.’
-Dr Deborah Russell, University of York

‘Through a winning combination of painstaking research and insightful readings, Servants and the Gothic, 1764–1831 appraises the importance of the too-often ignored servant in the first wave of Gothic writing. Focusing upon both fiction and theatre, Hudson’s work delightfully supplies the other part of the “half-told tale”. For anyone interested in the rise of the Gothic in the eighteenth-century and Romantic novel, this book will be an essential read.’
-Professor Angela Wright, University of Sheffield


Introduction: Domestic invasion: A portrait of the Gothic servant narrator
Chapter One: Servant narrative and ‘new romance’
Chapter Two: Gothic Servants and socio-political identity
Chapter Three: Gothic spectacle and the ‘performing’ servant
Chapter Four: Redefining Gothic servants
Conclusion Mastering the Gothic servant narrative

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Kathleen Hudson

Kathleen Hudson is an Adjunct Professor of English Literature at Anne Arundel Community College and the United States Naval Academy, and is the author of Servants and the Gothic, 1764–1831: A half-told tale (2019).

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