By David Punter (auth.)
This is a wide-ranging e-book approximately features of the Gothic, from vintage texts reminiscent of Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights to modern fiction through Iain Banks, William Gibson and so forth. It ways the texts via the competition among the Gothic and the legislations, suggesting ways that Gothic in any respect issues produces transgression. It appears to be like at horror fiction by way of, for instance, Stephen King and Robert Bloch, in addition to tales from China and Hong Kong, and indicates new ways that modern literary and mental concept could relate to and deal with the Gothic.
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Extra resources for Gothic Pathologies: The Text, the Body and the Law
2 per cent involved imprisonment, far more popular being the pillory or the stocks, whipping, transportation or hanging. The pictures that Defoe, Fielding and Smollett give us of prison life are not as eccentric as they may now appear to us, in that we have come to expect gaols to be places of confinement, whereas during the eighteenth century they were not. The few convicted felons in them were usually chained down, precisely because the majority of debtors and people awaiting trial possessed so-called privileges of free movement, which account for much of the internal social life which these novelists depict.
There is, for instance, a marked emphasis, especially in Defoe and Smollett, on ways of cheating or eluding the law. The paradigm here is again Moll Flanders, in the Preface to which Defoe makes a claim which has since become famous: Throughout the infinite variety of this book, this fundamental is most strictly adhered to; there is not a wicked action in any part of it but is first or last rendered unhappy and unfortunate; there is not a superlative villain brought upon the stage but either he is brought to an unhappy end or brought to be a penitent; there is not an ill thing mentioned but it is condemned, even in the relation, nor a virtuous, just thing but it carries its praise along with it.
This, however, is by no means to claim that these novelists were always striving for a `realistic' picture: in Moll Flanders (1721) the principal mode in which Newgate is described is clearly symbolic ± in itself an interesting rarity for Defoe: the hellish noise, the roaring, swearing, and clamour, the stench and nastiness, and all the dreadful afflicting things that I saw there joined to make the place seem an emblem of hell itself, and a kind of an entrance into it. (p. 242) A hell, a bestiary, a jungle: in Roderick Random Miss Williams, committed to the London Bridewell, believes herself `in hell, tormented by fiends: Indeed, there needs not a very extravagant imagination to form that idea; for of all the scenes on earth, that The Gothic and the Law 29 of Bridewell approaches nearest the notion I had always entertained of the infernal regions' (p.