Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts


  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    1. Edward Hyde to ‘Champagne Ivy’. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, film, dir. Rouben Mamoulian, 1931.

    2. Salomon, Mazes of the Serpent, 2.

    3. Hills, Pleasures of Horror.

    4. Baldick and Mighall, ‘Gothic Criticism’, 221.

    5. Miller, Dracula; idem, ‘Coitus Interruptus’.

    6. Mighall, Geography, 246.

    7. Herron, ‘Stephen King’, 137–8, 153–4.

    8. Obviously, there is a great deal more to say about this fascinating and complex novel, and indeed about Roche’s work more generally, but that is a project for another day.

    9. Hughes, ‘Origins and Implications’, 45.

    10. W. J. McCormack makes this point very strongly in commenting on Le Fanu and Stoker in particular, pointing out that ‘[Neither] came from landowning families . . . [and they] were of foreign (Huguenot) background, and one of these (Le Fanu) could also boast a Gaelic ancestry (through the Sheridans)’. ‘Irish Gothic’, Handbook, 135.

    11. A rather too obvious example of this is the case of the ‘Irish studies’ interpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). Some critics are unimpressed by the fact that while some ‘Irish’ readings claimed that the Count should be read as representative of the landlord classes other ‘Irish’ readings proposed he be read as a reverse, a colonising peasant reeking revenge on Re-Making Meaning in the Gothic Novel 103 his colonial masters. The implication in some criticism is that Irish studies critics had the responsibility of being at least in agreement with each other and that disagreement automatically invalidated the critical perspective taken. My response to the Dracula ‘controversy’ is that, while it is difficult to see how the Count could be both a landlord and a tenant in any coherent reading, the novel itself is hardly a model of consistency and a decent reading would emphasise the contradictions and convolutions of the novel rather than impose any simplified ideological lucidity merely in order to justify an interpretative position. See Stewart ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ for a careful response to some of the apparent contradictions in Irish studies readings.

    12. Haslam, ‘Irish Gothic: A Rhetorical Hermeneutics Approach’.

    13. Ibid. Of course, the term ‘allegory’ does occur in Terry Eagleton’s suggestion that ‘it is possible to read [Charles Robert] Maturin’s astonishing [Melmoth the Wanderer] as an allegory of this strange condition in which exploiters and victims are both strangers and comrades’. Heathcliff, 190, quoted in Haslam, ‘Irish Gothic: A Rhetorical Hermeneutics’.

    14. Haslam, ‘Irish Gothic’, 84.

    15. Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, 89.

    16. Bloomfield, ‘Allegory as Interpretation’, 302.

    17. Allegory seems to be difficult to escape from as far as the Gothic is concerned. Jim Hansen also reads the Gothic as an ‘inveterately allegorical genre’. Terror and Irish Modernism, 89.

    18. Haslam, ‘Irish Gothic: A Rhetorical Hermeneutics’.

    19. Killeen, ‘Irish Gothic: A Theoretical Introduction’, 6; see Todorov, The Fantastic, 25.

    20. Killeen, ‘Irish Gothic’, 3; Moynahan, Anglo-Irish, 111.

    21. Haslam, ‘Irish Gothic: A Rhetorical Hermeneutics’, fn. 60.

    22. Derrida, ‘Signature Event Context’, 313.

    23. Neither, of course, was Derrida.

    24. Quoted in Culler, Literary in Theory, 167.

    25. Jameson, ‘Third-World Literature’, 69.

    26. Ibid., 80.

    27. Ahmad, ‘Jameson’s Rhetoric’, 15.

    28. Larsen, Determinations, 19.

    29. Gibbons, Transformations, 3. One of the most trenchant critics is (unsurprisingly) Richard Haslam. See, ‘“A Race Bashed in the Face”’, passim. 30. Gibbons, Transformations, 21, 142–3.

    31. Barry, ‘Critical Notes’.

    32. Jameson, Marxism and Form, 72.

    33. Jameson, ‘Third-World Literature’, 73.

    34. Gibbons, Transformations, 20

    35. Although this is not always the case. In perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of allegory, Angus Fletcher adopts a very catholic understanding of the term and, as well as the classic allegories, includes under the term ‘the modern romance and the detective story’ since they ‘carry double meanings that are no less important to the completion of their plots than is the moralitas to the preacher’s parable’. Allegory, 5. He accepts that the ‘modern’ reader would probably not read these genres in an allegorical 104 The Emergence of Irish Gothic Fiction manner, and he insists that ‘the whole point of allegory is that it does not need to be read exegetically’, more or less approving of Frye’s sense that from the standpoint of a commentator ‘all literature . . . is . . . more or less allegorical’, 7–8.

    36. Littlefield, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, 47–58.

    37. Frye, Anatomy of Criticism, 53–4.

    38. Frye, Secular Scripture, 59.

    39. Indeed, Haslam appears to adopt what Northrop Frye calls the ‘Little Jack Horner’ view that a text is like a pie into which the author has ‘diligently stuffed a specific number of beauties or effects’, and out of which it is the job of the critic to pull. Anatomy, 17.

    40. Kilfeather, ‘Terrific Register’, 58–9.

    41. Frye, Secular Scripture, 59. 42. Williams, Art of Darkness, 81–2.

    43. Jackson, Fantasy, 3.

    44. Williams, Art of Darkness, 81.

    45. Killeen, Gothic Ireland, 25.

    46. Gibbons, Transformations, 21.

    47. Jameson, Marxism and Form, 404.

    48. Jones, Horror, 117.

    49. Clover, Men, Women and Chain Saws, 167.

    50. In a recent intervention, Haslam took to task a number of critics who had read the apparent dislocation between the intended reader of Le Fanu’s narrative ‘Carmilla’ (‘a town lady’) and the claims of the Editor of In a Glass Darkly (1872) that the letters were written to Dr Martin Hesselius (not, obviously, a woman) as suggestive from an interpretive point of view. For Haslam, this is an example of an authorial error and should therefore have no bearing on interpretation. ‘Theory, Empiricism and “Providential Hermeneutics”’, 339–62.

    51. Steven Mailloux, Reception Histories: Rhetoric, Pragmatism, and American Cultural Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998), 50; quoted in Haslam, ‘Irish Gothic: A Rhetorical Hermeneutics’.

    52. I should also, of course, acknowledge that I have learned a great deal from Haslam’s approach, especially a better sense of the need for critical hesitancy – over-enthusiasm can easily lead to over-statement.

    53. For ‘overstanding’, see Booth, Critical Understanding, 242–4. See also Culler, Literary in Theory, 172–3, where he discusses Booth’s idea in detail.

    54. For this tradition, see Dalton, ‘Tradition of Blood-Sacrifice’; MacCana, ‘Women in Irish Mythology’; Ni Bhrolchain, ‘Women in Early Irish Myths’; O’Brien, ‘Female Principle’; Kearney, ‘Myth and Motherland’, 59–80; Lysaght, Banshee; Loftus, Mirrors; Curtis, Jr, ‘Four Erins’.

    55. Dalton, ‘Tradition of Blood Sacrifice,’ 345.

    56. This myth changed slowly over the centuries as colonisation progressed. In pre-aisling poems like the ‘Hag of Beare’ and other writings, the ‘sovereignty goddess’ continued to exist in folklore. Innes, Woman and Nation, 26–7; Lysaght, Banshee, 217.

    57. Szechi, Jacobites, 33.

    58. Nic Eoin, ‘Secrets and Disguises?’ 16.

    59. Szechi, Jacobites, 90–104. Re-Making Meaning in the Gothic Novel 105

    60. Ó Rathaille, ‘An millead d’imthigh air mhór-shleachtaibh na h-Éireann’, 6. Translation by Mary Lawlor.

    61. Ó Buachalla, ‘Irish Jacobite Poetry’, 46. In an excellent review of this poetry, Máirin Nic Eoin has questioned Ó Buachalla’s claim that this poetry is a ‘popular’ form as ‘it is difficult when dealing with Irish-language material to differentiate between an elite and a popular or plebeian literary voice’. However, she does accept that this poetry ‘brings us into the realm of eighteenth-century popular culture’. ‘Secrets and Disguises?’, 8.

    62. Gibbons, Transformations, 141–2.

    63. Meehan, ed., Poets and Poetry, 8–9.

    64. Nic Eoin, ‘Secrets and Disguises?’ 44.

    65. The conflation of the two has been held as dangerous and oppressive to real women in real Ireland. The main force behind this critique has been the poet Eavan Boland. See ‘The Woman Poet’; Kind of Scar; Object Lessons: ‘If you took the hero out of the story, what was left? What female figure was there to identify with? There were no women on these back streets. None, at least, who were not lowly auxiliaries of the action. The heroine, as such, was utterly passive. She was Ireland or Hibernia. She was stamped, as a rubbed-away mark, on silver or gold; a compromised regal figure on a throne . . . She was invoked, addressed, remembered, loved, regretted. And, most important, died for’. 66. See also Longley, From Cathleen to Anorexia, 17.

    66. Nic Eoin, ‘Secrets and Disguises?’ 45.

    67. For the best articulation of this view, see Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism, 137.

    68. Tracy, ‘Maria Edgeworth and Lady Morgan’, 10.

    69. Owenson, Wild Irish Girl, ed. Connolly and Copley, 10.

    70. Morin, Charles Robert Maturin, 9.

    71. Ibid., 9.

    72. Deane, ‘Heroic Styles’, 45–58; idem, ‘General Introduction’, xix–xxvi.

    73. Connolly, Cultural History, 6.

    74. Swift, ‘Story of the Injured Lady’, 7–9. References will be placed in parenthesis in the body of the chapter.

    75. Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism, 133.

    76. Molyneux, Case of Ireland, 14.

    77. Erskine-Hill, ‘Literature and the Jacobite Cause’, 49–50, 53–4.

    78. Szechi, Jacobites, 35.

    79. McLoughlin, Contesting Ireland, 67.

    80. Canning, ‘“Ignorant, Illiterate Creatures”’, 64: 1 (1997), 86. I prefer to avoid the term ‘Protestant Ascendancy’ to describe the Irish Protestant ruling class in the 1710s given the historiographical controversy over the use of the term. See McCormack, ‘Genesis of Protestant Ascendancy’; idem, Ascendancy and Tradition; idem, Dublin Paper War; Kelly, ‘The Genesis of “Protestant Ascendancy”’; Hill, ‘Meaning and Significance’.

    81. Canning, ‘“Ignorant, Illiterate Creatures”’, 81.

    82. Ibid., 92.

    This page titled Notes is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Jarlath Killeen via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.