Suicide and the Gothic

Edited by William Hughes and Andrew Smith

Suicide and the Gothic


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2008-3
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2019
  • BIC Category: Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Gothic & Romance, LITERARY CRITICISM / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary theory, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literature & literary studies / General
  • Series: International Gothic Series


Suicide and the Gothic is the first protracted study of how the act of self-destruction recurs and functions within one of the most enduring and popular forms of fiction. Comprising eleven original essays and an authoritative introduction, this collection explores how the act of suicide has been portrayed, interrogated and pathologised from the eighteenth century to the present. The featured fictions embrace both canonical and the less-studied texts and examine the crisis of suicide - a crisis that has personal, familial, religious, legal and medical implications - in European, American and Asian contexts. Featuring detailed interventions into the understanding of texts as temporally distant as Thomas Percy's Reliques and Patricia Highsmith's crime fictions, and movements as diverse as Wertherism, Romanticism and fin-de-siècle decadence, Suicide and the Gothic provides a comprehensive and compelling overview of this recurrent crisis in fiction and culture.


Introduction: the most Gothic of acts - suicide in generic context
William Hughes and Andrew Smith
1 Scottish revenants: Caledonian fatality in Thomas Percy's Reliques
Frank Ferguson and Danni Glover
2 Male and female Werthers: Romanticism and Gothic suicide
Lisa Vargo
3 'The supposed incipiency of mental disease': guilt, regret and suicide in three ghost stories by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
William Hughes
4 'The body of a self-destroyer': suicide and the self in the fin de siècle Gothic
Andrew Smith
5 'To be mistress of her own fate': suicide as control and contagion in the works of Richard Marsh
Graeme Pedlingham
6 Suicide as Justice? The self-destroying Gothic villain in Pauline Hopkins' Of One Blood
Bridget M. Marshall
7 Gothic influences: darkness and suicide in the work of Patricia Highsmith
Fiona Peters
8 Better not to have been: Thomas Ligotti and the 'Suicide' of the human race
Xavier Aldana Reyes and Rachid M'Rabty
9 Vampire suicide
Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
10 Under the dying sun: suicide and the Gothic in modern Japanese literature and culture
Katarzyna Ancuta
11 'I Will Abandon This Body and Take to the Air': the suicide at the heart of Dear Esther
Dawn Stobbart


William Hughes is Professor of Medical Humanities and Gothic Literature at Bath Spa University

Andrew Smith is Professor of Nineteenth-Century English Literature at the University of Sheffield

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