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2.7 - The Theatrical Gothic in the Nineteenth Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2020

Catherine Spooner
Affiliation:
Lancaster University
Dale Townshend
Affiliation:
Manchester Metropolitan University
Angela Wright
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
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Summary

Despite its seeming defeat at the hands of the new domestic melodrama and, later, the innovations of dramatic realism, the Gothic, beyond its heyday during period 1790–1830, continued to stalk the English stage well into the nineteenth century. Shape-shifting and refusing to die outright, the Gothic mode would inform melodrama, domestic drama, sensation drama and even the emerging realist dramas to the end of the century. Moreover, while according to received narratives of theatre history, the new modes of realism would claim a victorious precedence over the archaic drama of immured heroines and haunted castles, this chapter argues that as the fin de siècle loomed, attempts to repress the theatrical Gothic were met with an increasingly Gothic representation of the theatre itself within the wider popular and literary imagination.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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