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The Cambridge History of the Gothic The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 3: Gothic in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
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3.7 - Gothic and the Heritage Movement in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2021

Catherine Spooner
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Dale Townshend
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
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Summary

This chapter examines the interpenetration of Gothic and heritage discourses in literary works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, looking at the impact of heritage issues on Gothic texts and the irruption of Gothic tropes into heritage romances and time-slip narratives. It argues that issues of protection, ownership and custodianship of monuments, artefacts and landscapes, all so central to the heritage movement, re-inflect Gothic tropes in stories by M. R. James (where the Gothic object is a heritage artefact and issues of custodianship become central) and in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938) (where the Gothic house is presented as an endangered heritage object). Conversely, in Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time (1938), Gothic tropes express the dangers of heritage sensibilities. Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger (2009), which pathologises heritage sensibilities, is read as a twisted heritage romance. Discussing Penelope Lively’s The Whispering Knights (1971) and David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen (1974) as texts responding to the new discipline of landscape history, the chapter argues that W G Hoskins's The Making of the English Landscape (1955) is a key text in the development of Folk Horror.

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The Cambridge History of the Gothic
Volume 3: Gothic in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
, pp. 137 - 158
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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