Gabrielle Ryan


From the moment historical fiction became defined as a genre of literary ‘realism’, it was positioned as the opposite of the Gothic. The Gothic, it was considered, could not be historical because its supernatural elements meant that it did not measure up to the standards of realism required. In this article, I argue that it is possible for the Gothic and literary realism to co-exist: that it is possible, even perhaps more powerful, to write a ‘realistic’ Gothic not made up of the supernatural, but of things that are real. I use as a case study the novel that was the creative artefact of my PhD, which is an example of a Gothic novel written in a traditional ‘realist’ style, and plays with the conventions of the Gothic, particularly in relation to the depiction of queer women and the monstrous Other.

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