“He commenced his walk, but soon again stopped and this time just before me.
“‘Jane! Will you hear reason?’ (he stooped and approached his lips to my ear;) ‘Because, if you won’t, I’ll try violence.'”–Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847), Ch. 27
Recent literary criticism has attributed an air of notoriety to the Gothic’s reputation for contesting conceptual boundaries. Encoded within Gothic narratives is a play of terms, of oppositions, which attest to a fundamental ambivalence: good depends on evil, light on dark, reason on irrationality, in order to define limits. This play of antitheses means that Gothic is an inscription neither of darkness nor of light, a delineation neither of reason and morality nor of superstition and corruption, neither real nor fantastic, but both at the same time (Botting 9). Such amorphous inclusiveness reflects a major problem of defining the “Gothic” itself. According to Sarolta Marinovich, for example, it is “not so much…a specific genre in literary history…but…a mode of writing to be found in novels and poems alike” (189). Little wonder that Julian Fleenor proposes that the Gothic “is a protean entity not one thing. There is not just one Gothic but Gothics” (4).
One of the factors surrounding the Gothic that has remained constant over the past three centuries is its affiliation with women. Indeed, from its late-eighteenth century inception as a genre to its twentieth century “drugstore” incarnation as a formulaic “romantic novel stamped by a brooding sense of mystery and terror” (Whitney 11), the Gothic has been considerably shaped by women. According to the findings of feminist literary theory and criticism, the Gothic, either as a genre or “mode of writing,” suits women writers’ purpose: not only can it give voice to the (hitherto unmentionable) female condition of marginalization in androcentric society, but it can do so indirectly, given the Gothic world’s precarious balance of “the real” and “the fantastic” (van Leeuwen 37).
“As early as the 1790s,” states Ellen Moers, “Ann Radcliffe firmly set the Gothic in one of the ways it would go ever after: a novel in which the central figure is a young woman who is simultaneously persecuted victim and courageous heroine” (91). For many feminist critics, who claim that the victim aspect is more pronounced in Gothic than its counterpart, the affinity between gender and genre is problematic: while the terror and rage that women experience within patriarchal social arrangements (especially marriage) may find expression, Gothic resolutions all too often entail an affirmation of the status quo, pointing to the notorious ambivalence of Gothic fiction. According to Tania Modleski, for instance, “Gothics, like Harlequins, perform the function of giving expression to women’s hostility towards men while simultaneously allowing them to repudiate it” (66). Kate Ellis maintains that the Gothic novel creates, “in a segment of culture directed toward women, a resistance to an ideology that imprisons them even as it posits a sphere of safety for them” (x). Michelle Massé argues that “the husband who was originally defined by his opposition to the unjust father figure slowly merges with that figure. The heroine again finds herself mute, paralyzed, enclosed” (20). In short, the maiden of the Radcliffean mould may act bravely, but she cannot surmount the sphere of woman’s socially enforced helplessness.
Some Gothics undoubtedly support these readings, but in failing to distinguish yet another division of Gothic–namely, “male” and “female”–many feminist critics have missed the important implications of how these differences become encoded in texts. Interestingly enough, the gender of the author does not determine that of the narrative. Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea (1966), despite the fact that it was written by a woman, bears closest affinities with the male Gothic, which I define below.
Yet the novel also shares many Gothic conventions with the texts of the female tradition, conventions that extend far beyond the superficial commonalities of persecuted maidens or villainous men. To begin with, the pervasive theme undergirding de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex is apparent in Rhys’ novel: namely, “the female condition of inauthenticity and lack of identity” (van Leeuwen 38). This is compounded by Gothic fiction’s “concerns about the limits, effects and power of representation in the formation of identities, realities and institutions” (Botting 14). In Rhys’s text, as with other Gothics, the formation of identities is contingent upon “a confrontation with a diffuse spectral mother,” who in modern Gothics “typically becomes an embodied actual figure” (Kahane 343). Echoing the fate of the mother (the case of Anotinette Cosway in Wide Sargasso Sea) or failing to acknowledge/sever her (the plight of Joan Foster, for example, in Atwood’s Lady Oracle) assures the Gothic heroine of experiencing the “repetition and trauma” of “Gothic masochism” (Massé 7).
The end result is the terrifying realization that “the world of rational order briefly flickers in and out of the dreamlike. There is no ordinary world to wake up in” (Doody 553). And since the social construct of experienced reality is the family writ large, Wide Sargasso Sea attests to the fact that “‘the Law of the Father’ is a tyrannical paterfamilias and that we dwell in his ruins” (Williams 24).
Essentially, male Gothic differs from the female formula in its ideology of the heroine, its plot, its assumptions about the supernatural, and its preference for horror instead of terror (Botting 60-61). The heroine of the male Gothic is a concrete manifestation of misogynistic ideology which reifies a woman’s “nature” as weak and inconstant; she is placed in a situation where these qualities will lead her into danger. Her role is ultimately inseparable from her identity as a sexual being, either as subject or object (Williams 105). In contrast to the female Gothic heroine, she experiences no rebirth into a world complete with heteronormative love and its apex of fulfillment in marriage: her plot ends not with societal reintegration, but with lonely failure and death (Botting 92-93).
Whereas the female tradition of the Gothic explains the ghosts (this is especially true of Radcliffe), the male formula simply posits the supernatural as a “reality,” a premise of this fictional world: (black) magic is efficacious; vampires do exist (Botting 75). The imagined threats of terror are thus jettisoned in favor of horrific events and images: graveyard, charnel house unpleasantries (not the least of which is the fear of premature burial), Matthew Lewis’ Bleeding Nun, etc. Most disturbing of all, “Male Gothic expresses the horrors inherent in the premises of Western patriarchy–that the ‘female’ (the mother) is ‘other,’ forbidden, and dreadfully, uncannily powerful, a monster that the nascent self must escape at the cost of whatever violence seems necessary” (Williams 134).
According to Anthony Luengo, Wide Sargasso Sea makes such a radical departure from its eighteenth-century forebears of Radcliffe and Lewis that its relation to the Gothic is tenuous: Rhys foregoes “traditional claptrap” (235) for a powerful exploration of distorted psyches. But Rhys’s text isn’t so “neo-” of a Gothic as Luengo advocates, for psychic delving need not be incompatible with the more traditional components (“claptrap”) of Gothic literature.
As with all novels in the Gothic mode, whether male or female, Wide Sargasso Sea remarkably evokes both landscape and the mysterious correspondences which link it with character. Both Antoinette and Rochester evince an extra-rational feel for a land that is at once overpoweringly beautiful and mysteriously menacing. It has a mythic, almost primordial, quality; as with Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the Gothic has been taken out of castles and abbeys and transported to a desolate nature.
At the most superficial level, this makes the work intoxicatingly “atmospheric.” Colors and smells predominate, as indeed they do in the many scenes of pastoral charm strewn throughout Radcliffe’s texts. Compare, for example, Rochester’s account of his sensations as he stands on the veranda of the honeymoon retreat at Granbois of the first time with Radcliffe’s description (from The Mysteries of Udolpho) of the Mediterranean lowlands at the foot of the Alps. Here is Rochester:
Standing on the veranda I breathed the sweetness of the air. Cloves I could smell and cinnamon, roses and orange blossom. And an intoxicating freshness as if all this had never been breathed before. (73)
Here is Radcliffe’s more mannered prose:
The gay tints of cultivation once more beautified the landscape; for the lowlands were coloured with the richest hues, which a luxuriant climate, and an industrious people can awaken into life. Groves of orange and lemon perfumed the air, their ripe fruit glowing among the foliage; while, sloping to the plains, extensive vineyards spread their treasures. (Vol. I, Ch. V, 55)
More than mere decoration, Radcliffean landscapes convey the subjective states of her characters, especially Udolpho’s overly sensitive young heroine, Emily St. Aubert: gloomy, precipitous heights reflect her terror; sunlit, gentle valley slopes and pasturelands her peace of soul (Botting 65). This projective method of landscape description becomes a valuable tool for eighteenth century Gothic writers (what with their preoccupation with the Sublime and the beautiful) and their descendants, for Rhys uses it to great effect. As Rochester ascends towards Granbois (not unlike Emily ascending to the gloomy pile of Udolpho in Vol. II, Ch. V), the sense of impending danger is conveyed thus:
The road climbed upward. On one side the wall of green, on the other a steep drop to the ravine below. We pulled up and looked at the hills, the mountains and the blue-green sea. There was a soft warm wind blowing but I understood why the porter had called it a wild place. Not only wild but menacing. These hills would close in on you. (69)
The jungles of the Caribbean thus provide a strikingly visual and textured terror and a convenient mirror in which to reflect the inner turmoil of Rhys’s two main characters (Porter 541). Hence one can trace Rochester’s changing moods by his different attitudes to an ever-evolving landscape. Antoinette, in contrast, is consistent in her view of the forest: it is an absolutely diabolical force that presses close on the walls of her Edenic garden (her recurring erotic dream at the convent, pp.59-61), and which, in fact, is seen at one point early in the narrative to actually overwhelm the garden at her beloved Coulibri:
Our garden was large and beautiful as that garden in the Bible–the tree of life grew there. But it had gone wild. The paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched. One was snaky looking… (19)
In Wide Sargasso Sea, as in American Gothic fiction (Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” springs readily to mind), nature, especially in its wilder aspects, takes on overtones of moral corruption. However, it is interesting to note that, for all its hostility, the natural world Rhys depicts in Jamaica or Dominica is never a direct threat: indeed, “hurricanes and poisonous snakes are curiously absent from Antoinette’s Caribbean home” (Dole 62). Not surprisingly, Wide Sargasso Sea provides little in the way of haunted interiors. Coulibri is, if anything, a place of refuge for Antoinette from the outside darkness, as, indeed, is the convent in which she spent her teenage years.
To Rochester, the shabby cottage at Granbois is more pathetic than frightening, “more awkward than ugly, a little sad as if it knew it couldn’t last” (71-72), though at times one can feel Rhys pushing description in the direction of the traditional Gothic.
But the feeling of security had left me. I looked round suspiciously. The door into her room could be bolted, a stout wooden bar pushed across the other. This was the last room in the house… I went back into the dressing-room and looked out of the window. I saw a clay road, muddy in places, bordered by a row of tall trees. Beyond the road various half-hidden out-buildings. (75)
One quality that Coulibri and Granbois share is their extraordinary remoteness, a geographical isolation which represents the psychological separation of the protagonists from the mainstays of normality–that the plot of the novel occurs in “a never-never land, existing beyond the reach of spatial or temporal constraints” (Wolff 211). Antoinette’s mother suffers because of the isolation of Coulibri, and, to some extent, is eventually driven mad by it. Granbois is even more remote, high in the hills, shut in by the forest, on an island inhabited, according to Antoinette, by four “hermits” (89).
As with the landscape, so too are the conventions of characterization in conformity with the Gothic mould. Yet Rhys simultaneously perpetuates and transforms these conventions. She does make use of the Gothic villain (and its hero double) and the persecuted maiden (along with her double of the femme fatale). The Gothic villain, as Mario Praz has indicated, is the closest literary ancestor of the type that was to become known in the Romantic period as the Byronic Hero (61). Rochester, as he is portrayed in Jane Eyre, comes definitely out of this mould: he has been a guilt-haunted wanderer, “harsh…grim…almost historically cynical” (111), his face marked with the standard features of his type (prominent forehead, full, black, well-defined eyebrows and piercing dark eyes, grim mouth and chin, black whiskers). In Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys gives us a more youthful Rochester, an initially self-deluding, fortune-hunting Englishman who comes to a deeply unsettling transformation as diabolical patriarch.
As he first presents himself to the reader, Rochester is a romantic suitor. Describing his courtship of Antoinette, he tells the reader, “I bowed, I smiled, kissed her hand, danced with her” (76). To all outward appearances, then, he is like any other colorless and virtuous young hero (more calculating than most, perhaps) from the world of Gothic fiction (such as Valancourt of Udolpho fame). Yet he does not remain the young hero for long, as he pointedly states: “A short youth mine was” (84). Subjected to his increasing need to dominate the “secrets” of the islands (indeed, he eerily echoes Victor Frankenstein’s ill-fated wish to “penetrate into the recesses of nature”) and the woman who is numinously linked with them, he goes through a metamorphosis: not only psychologically in terms of neurosis/psychosis, but from a purely literary standpoint, in the direction of the Gothic/Byronic (and ultimately Miltonic) villain.
A foreshadowing of his diabolic transformation occurs early in his narration when, mentally constructing a letter to his father, he sees himself as a Faustian figure: “I have sold my soul or you have sold it, and after all is it such a bad bargain?” (70). Rochester is closer in reality to Mephistopheles than to Faust, for “the Gothic villain twists the unfairness of primogeniture to his own purposes, just as Satan did” (Ellis 43). Christophine, Antoinette’s nurse and servant, accuses Rochester of being “wicked like Satan self” (161) in his schemings to attain Antoinette’s estate, and complains of his smugness that his actions are legally sanctified. Count Montoni of Udolpho similarly (satanically) gloats over his legally sanctioned authority and threatens young Emily thus: “‘You shall be removed, this night…to the east turret: there, perhaps, you may understand the danger of offending a man, who has an unlimited power over you'” (Radcliffe 305).
The terror of the persecuted Gothic heroine, therefore, is that “of being confined and then abandoned, and beyond that, of being, in an unspecified yet absolute way, completely surrounded by superior male power” (Ellis 46). The image of flight associated with Gothic heroines–beginning with, Praz notes, Richardson’s Clarissa Harlowe (95)–is internalized by Rhys to provide commentary on the deep anguish of Antoinette. Rhys begins with the external, objective depiction of persecution and flight, the recurring scenes early in the book in which the hapless Antoinette is harassed by the recently freed blacks:
I never looked at any strange negro. They hated us. They called us white cockroaches. Let sleeping dogs lie. One day a little girl followed me singing, ‘Go away white cockroach, go away, go away.’ I walked fast but she walked faster. ‘White cockroach, go away, go away. Nobody want you. Go away.’ (23)
As the external menace gives way to a steadily deepening anxiety, the images become charged with eroticism (which, again, adheres to the Gothic’s frank acknowledgment–especially in M.G. Lewis’ works–of the sexual nature of the pursuit), welling up in Antoinette’s recurring nightmare in which she is followed into the forest near Coulibri by one man, “his face black with hatred” (60). Antoinette exists, in effect, in a state of continuous flight, from the ex-slaves, from Rochester himself (her initial resistance to marriage and, later on, her flight to Christophine), from the terrors of her own soul.
In Rochester’s eyes, Antoinette is more than a mere Radcliffean innocent in danger. She takes on the characteristics of the femme fatale or la belle dame sans merci; Rochester’s discourse undoubtedly smacks of racist paranoia as he deems Antoinette as dangerous a woman as her Creole ancestors before her. They are wholly Other to him–not just alien but unruly, disruptive; people who must be watched with the utmost vigilance:
They way they walk and talk and scream or try to kill (themselves or you) if you laugh back at them. Yes, they’ve got to be watched. For the time comes when they try to kill…She’s one of them… (172)
Unquestionably, Rhys’s use and control of the machinery of Gothic conventions is most astonishing in the area of magic and superstition. As a writer in the male Gothic tradition, Rhys completely avoids the teasing pseudo-supernaturalism of Radcliffe. The supernatural is brought to vivid dimensions both metaphorically and causally in the plot, and chiefly revolves around the interrelated dynamics of Obeah (the Jamaican version of the better-known African Diaspora religion of Haitian Vodoun), zombification, and ghosts.
It is Christophine, the towering “phallic mother” (Fayad 447) whom everyone save Antoinette fears, who embodies the magic of the Afro-Caribbean religious tradition of Obeah, that “shadow world behind the placid exterior life of the island” (Branson 24). As a child, Antoinette hears the talk of the other servants concerning Christophine’s magical activities and, not surprisingly, her already fevered imagination conjures up terrors whenever she enters the servant’s room:
I was certain that hidden in the room (behind the old black press?) there was a dead man’s dried hand, white chicken feathers, a cock with its throat cut, dying slowly, slowly. Drop by drop the blood was falling into a red basin and I imagined I could hear it. No one had ever spoken to me about obeah–but I knew what I would find if I dared to look. (31)
This passage implies that Antoinette has an intuitive understanding of Obeah; this is perhaps due to the fact that, “despite the antipathy of the blacks, she is everywhere identified with the island” (Branson 25). Later on, when imprisoned in Thornfield Hall, Antoinette invokes the power of Obeah with her red dress–red, of course, being “the characteristic color of Voodoo” (Williams, Voodoos and Obeahs 93). The connotations of fire, while evoking the lush landscape of the West Indies, also evoke the vengeful deities or Lwa of the Petro/Petwo sect (as opposed to the “cooler,” beneficent but slower-acting Lwa of the Rada sect) in Vodoun (Hurston 169).
Antoinette’s decision to obtain a love philter from Christophine not only helps substantiate the fact that she is well known as a practitioner of Obeah, but it helps generate the atmosphere in which the practice of zombification is taken seriously. Even the presence of a seemingly minor detail like the tied flowers Rochester discovers above Granbois at the dead priest’s house helps maintain this atmosphere. When Rochester approaches the house, he is astonished when he encounters a little girl carrying a basket on her head “who screamed loudly, threw up her arms and ran” at the sight of Rochester, acting as though she had seen a zombi. “‘Is there something wrong about the place?'” he asks Baptiste. “‘Is there a ghost, a zombi there?'” (106). Claiming ignorance, Baptiste responds, “‘Don’t know nothing about all that foolishness.'” Perhaps it isn’t so foolish to Rochester, whose narrative trails off at one point due to his engrossed reading about zombies in the Obeah chapter of The Glittering Coronet of Isles (107). This prompts Thomas Loe to ask some intriguing questions about Rochester, for which Rhys’s novel has no clear-cut answers:
How much about zombies does he already know? Is this book the source that provokes him into having the ritual practised on Antoinette? What more does he learn and how far does he pursue this interest in zombies? Is the sense of ‘betrayal’ suggested by the cock crowing (69, 163) also a betrayal of knowledge about the zombification process so that Rochester may perceive it as a solution to his imbroglio? Or is the mention of the cock only meant to remind us of the sacrifice of a cock during the zombification ritual? (38)
In other words, does Rochester’s interest in zombies function as a method for trying to ascertain the “secret” of the island/Antoinette?
If it does, then he certainly gets more than he bargained for when he nearly falls prey to the zombification process himself. When Antoinette begs Christophine to concoct the love philter, Christophine complies, undoubtedly out of the desire to give Antoinette peace of mind; there also exists the possibility, however, that she does so in an attempt “to capture control of Rochester through the zombification process” (Loe 39). This would thus be an example of the time-honored Obeah method of exacting revenge through poison (Williams 202). Rochester’s descriptions of his reactions to his “poisoning” are surely meant to be references to zombification: “‘I woke in the dark after dreaming that I was buried alive'” he states, and describes his persistent feeling of suffocation (137).
For whatever reason, the process fails, leaving Rochester determined to avenge himself and turn the zombification process on Antoinette, someone who is culturally conditioned to believe in magic (Loe 40). Mona Fayad observes that Antoinette “becomes a ghost/undead, the zombie that Rochester had been afraid would be his fate” (448). Zora Neale Hurston contends that zombies are created by a drug that “destroys that part of the brain which governs speech and will power. The victim can move and act but cannot formulate thought” (196). Belief in the power of the ritual is crucial to the efficacy of zombification; the victim is conscious, but devoid of speech, the exercise of will power, and recognition (Hurston 197). Rochester ritualistically imbues Antoinette with doll-like characteristics and even “baptizes” her with her new name of Bertha and as he conveys her toward her new zombie existence in England, he gloats over her “blank lovely eyes” (170), the hallmark of will-lessness. Antoinette is thus tragically forced to repeat the fate of her mother, whom Loe argues was also turned into a zombie (36-7).
Antoinette becomes a ghost as well as a zombie in her state of death-in-life, “A ghost in the gray daylight” (170). Admittedly, it is not traditional for the living heroine of a Gothic text to be its main ghost. But the barriers of life and death are broken down in a world in which, as Rochester’s narrative relates, “I watched her die many times. In my way, not in hers” (92). “Die then. Sleep. It is all I can give you…I wonder if she ever guessed how near she came to dying. In her way, not in mine” (94). Once again, the gods of Vodoun/Obeah simmer just below the surface, for the head of the Lwa nation known as the Gede–variously known as Baron Samedi/Baron LaCroix/Baron Cimeterre–presides over and demands respect for the entwined mysteries of life, death, and sexual regeneration, as I’ve written about in this previous blog post. And the frenzied devotees cry out, “Ah bo bo!” (Hurston 256).
Ultimately, the characteristic Gothic edifice is haunted by the secrets of its engendering (in several senses of that word). The Law of the Father is ubiquitous, overdetermined in this structure. And as the scripted tragic ending of the male Gothic’s heroine indicates, the Gothic is at once profoundly conservative–an affirmation of the cultural status quo as “reality.” Yet even as the structure encloses its secrets and shadows, it also appears to encourage their disclosure. Though threatening to punish the curious heroine, the system (not unlike Bluebeard) invites her to open the door. Thus Gothic may also be revolutionary, patriarchy’s nightmare of decline and fall:
Throughout Gothic fiction terror and horror have depended on things not being what they seem. In encouraging superstitious interpretation in, and of, novels by means of narrative devices and generic expectations, Gothic texts have always played along the boundaries between fictional forms and social rules. In the complex assemblage of different stories within early Gothic novels, the labyrinthine complexity ultimately delivers its secret and produces the horror that expels the object of fear, restoring properly conventional boundaries. An uncanny and disturbing uncertainty none the less shadows this process with an ambivalence and duplicity that cannot be contained. In Gothic fictions and films it is this ambivalence and duplicity that has emerged as a distinctively reflexive form of narrative anxiety. It involves a pervasive cultural concern–characterised as post-modernist–that things are not only not what they seem: what they seem is what they are, not a unity of word or image or thing, but words and images without things or as things themselves, effects of narrative form and nothing else. Unstable, unfixed and ungrounded in any reality, truth or identity other than those that narratives provide, there emerges a threat of sublime excess, of a new darkness of multiple and labyrinthine narratives, in which human myths again dissolve, confronted by an uncanny force beyond its control. (Botting 170-71)
In the final analysis, the supreme importance of the Gothic for all genders is that its furies allow us to take nothing for granted and cause us to fight imaginatively for the ultimate richness of an unhaunted existence.
Botting, Fred. Gothic. London: Routledge, 1996.
Branson, Stephanie. “Magicked by the Place: Shadow and Substance in Wide Sargasso Sea.“ Jean Rhys Review 3 (1989): 19-28.
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. (1847) New York: Bantam, 1981.
Dole, Carol M. “The Natural World in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea.” Philological Papers 37 (1991): 60-66.
Doody, Margaret Anne. “Deserts, Ruins and Troubled Waters: Female Dreams in Fiction and the Development of the Gothic Novel.” Genre: A Quarterly Devoted to Generic Criticism X (Winter 1977): 529-72.
Ellis, Kate Ferguson. The Contested Castle: Gothic Novels and the Subversion of Domestic Ideology. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
Fayad, Mona. “Unquiet Ghosts: The Struggle for Representation in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.” Modern Fiction Studies 34 (Autumn 1988): 437-52.
Fleenor, Julian. “Introduction: The Female Gothic.” The Female Gothic. Ed. Julian Fleenor. Montreal: Eden Press, 1983.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica. (1938) New York: Harper & Row, 1990.
Kahane, Claire. “The Gothic Mirror.” The (M)Other Tongue: Essays in Feminist Psychoanalytic Interpretation. Eds. Shirley Nelson Garner, Claire Kahane, Madelon Sprengnether. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985. 334-351.
Leeuwen, Frederike van. “Female Gothic: The Discourse of the Other.” Revista canaria de estudios ingleses 4 (April 1982): 33-44.
Loe, Thomas. “Patterns of the Zombie in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea.” World Literature Written in English 31 (Spring 1991): 34-42.
Luengo, Anthony E. “Wide Sargasso Sea and the Gothic Mode.” World Literature Written in English 15 (1976): 229-45.
Marinovich, Sarolta. “The Discourse of the Other: Female Gothic in Contemporary Women’s Writing.” Neohelicon: Acta comparationis litter arum universarum XXI (1994): 189-205.
Massé, Michelle A. In the Name of Love: Women, Masochism, and the Gothic. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992.
Modleski, Tania. Loving With a Vengeance: Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women. New York: Routledge, 1982.
Moers, Ellen. Literary Women. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
Porter, Dennis. “Of Heroines and Victims: Jean Rhys and Jane Eyre.” The Massachusetts Review 17 (Autumn 1976): 540-52.
Praz, Mario. The Romantic Agony. Trans. Angus Davidson. London: Oxford University Press, 1966.
Radcliffe, Ann. The Mysteries of Udolpho. (1794) Ed. Bonamy Dobrée. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966.
Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. (1966) New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1982.
Whitney, Phyllis A. “Writing the Gothic Novel.” The Writer 80 (February 1967): 9-13; 42-3.
Williams, Anne. Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Williams, Joseph J. Voodoos and Obeahs: Phases of West India Witchcraft. New York: Dial Press, 1932.
Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. “The Radcliffean Gothic Model: A Form for Feminine Sexuality.” The Female Gothic. Ed. Julian Fleenor. Montreal: Eden Press, 1983. 207-223.
- "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
- African Diaspora Religions
- Ann Radcliffe
- Byronic Hero
- Charlotte Brontë
- gender studies
- Gothic literature
- Jane Eyre
- Jean Rhys
- literary criticism
- The Mysteries of Udolpho
- the Sublime
- Victor Frankenstein
- Wide Sargasso Sea
- Zora Neale Hurston