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).

Want to read the full article? Go to our online shop where you can buy an individual issue or take out a subscription to NWR, saving £3.98 on the cover price. Prices start at £16.99 for three issues via Direct Debit, including p+p (UK only).

Buy this book at


previous review: Awakening
next review: Small Scale Tour


A brief note on copyright:all authors have given permission for their work to appear online on New Welsh Review's website. Copyright remains with the author. If you wish to reproduce part or all of any article then the permission of the author must be sought, and the author and New Welsh Review credited accordingly.

Contact us:Registered Office PO Box 170, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1WZ - Telephone 00 (44) 1970 628410
© New Welsh Review Ltd, all rights reserved - Registered in England and Wales - Registered number: 02493828
Website design: mach2media and mopublications      Website development: Technoleg Taliesin Cyf.