Gothic incest

Gender, sexuality and transgression

By Jenny DiPlacidi

Gothic incest


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4811-7
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £20.00
  • Published Date: March 2020
  • BIC Category: Europe, LITERARY CRITICISM / Gothic & Romance, Society & social sciences / Gender studies, gender groups, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Literature, Literature: history & criticism, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: from c 1900 -, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Gender studies, gender groups


The first full-length study of incest in the Gothic genre, this book argues that Gothic writers resisted the power structures of their society through incestuous desires. It provides interdisciplinary readings of incest within father-daughter, sibling, mother-son, cousin and uncle-niece relationships in texts by authors including Emily Brontë, Eliza Parsons, Ann Radcliffe and Eleanor Sleath. The analyses, underpinned by historical, literary and cultural contexts, reveal that the incest thematic allowed writers to explore a range of related sexual, social and legal concerns. Through representations of incest, Gothic writers modelled alternative agencies, sexualities and family structures that remain relevant today.


Introduction: disrupting the critical genealogy of the Gothic
1 'Unimaginable sensations': father-daughter incest and the economics of exchange
2 'My more than sister': reexamining paradigms of sibling incest
3 Uncles and nieces: thefts, violence and sexual threats
4 More than just kissing: cousins and the changing status of family
5 Queer mothers: female sexual agency and male victims
Conclusion: Incest and beyond


Jenny DiPlacidi is Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Studies and Romanticism at the University of Kent

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