REVIEW by Mary-Ann Constantine

NWR Issue 102

Welsh Gothic

by Jane Aaron

The Gothic, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a looming presence in literary and cultural studies right now. This is the latest of twenty (at last count) volumes in the Gothic Literary Studies series from the University of Wales Press, and I bet it won’t be the last. This series brings you everything from queer Gothic and the female Gothic to postcolonial Gothic, Catholic Gothic and American Gothic via Shakespeare, George Eliot and Stephen King: though by some oversight there appears to be a gap in the market for a grisly linguistic volume on The Gothic Gothic (‘There’s no such thing as a dead language...’). And that is just one press, one series: multiply that by a thousand academic presses, and you might start, justifiably, to feel that They Are Out To Get You.

As Jane Aaron points out in the Preface to her very readable volume, the Gothic is eminently teachable. A spot of rebranding in literature departments up and down the land has doubtless done wonders for more than one tired undergraduate course, and it is not difficult to see why. The Gothic is edgy, macabre, and always pertinent: it slips easily across discipline and media boundaries and roams at will between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. It can also be, if this book is anything to go by, an entertaining and instructive way of writing literary history and a flexible tool for exploring larger cultural questions.

Welsh Gothic examines the dark underbelly of the literature of Wales in the modern period, from the late eighteenth century to the early twenty-first...

Mary-Ann Constantine works at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, where she researches Romantic-period Welsh literature. She has published two collections of short stories, The Breathing (Planet, 2008), and All the Souls (Seren, 2013).

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Buy this book at gwales.com



       


previous review: Awakening
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