Cover for HAGGERTY: Queer Gothic

Queer Gothic

Discovering gothic fiction’s role in the development of sexuality

Because gothic fiction was the one semi-respectable genre that regularly explored sexual and social transgressions during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, George Haggerty’s Queer Gothic argues that it makes sense to consider the ways in which gothic fiction itself helped to shape thinking about sexual matters, create the darker shadows of the dominant fiction, and jump-start the age of sexology.

Haggerty examines a variety of issues, including the ways in which gothic fiction centers on loss as the foreclosure of homoerotic possibility, the uses to which same-sex desire can be put in a patriarchal culture, and the relationship between transgressive sexual behaviors and a range of religious behaviors understood as “Catholic.” Other chapters consider the erotic implications of gothic millenialism and move beyond the eighteenth century to discuss gothic fiction in the 1890s and 1990s, including Henry James’s The Ambassadors, Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.


"George Haggerty's Queer Gothic covers the full spectrum of sexual desire as it appears in Gothis fiction. . . . Haggerty argues persuasively that same-sex desire is the prohibited spectre that haunts the pages of Gothic writing, from Ann Radcliffe and her contemporaries to Shirley Jackson, Patricia Highsmith and Anne Rice."--Times Literary Supplement

"An important book. . . . Haggerty leads the way in redirecting our gaze towards where there is an absence of love between men rather than the suspicion of sex between them, where we find that Gothic writing is queer."--Gothic Studies

"Compellingly makes the case for gothic fiction's function as an indispensable resource for representations of queer sexuality and identity formation."--Journal of the History of Sexuality

"Queer Gothic is terrific. With superb scholarship and inspired analyses, Haggerty's rereading of major (and minor works) of Gothic fiction and drama through the lens of modern developments in queer studies will make a resounding splash."--Hans Turley, author of Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Piracy, Sexuality, and Masculine Identity

"Queer Gothic is an original and important book. Haggerty's sophisticated and nuanced readings forge a persuasive case not only for the crucial place of queer sexualities in the gothic, but for the crucial place of the gothic in the construction of sexual subjects under a modern regime. This dual movement makes Queer Gothic much more than a study of queerness in gothic fiction; it is an exciting contribution to the history of sexuality itself."--Susan S. Lanser, professor of English and chair of the Women's and Gender Studies program, Brandeis University


George E. Haggerty is a professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. He is the author of Gothic Fiction/Gothic Form, Unnatural Affections: Women and Fiction in the Later Eighteenth Century, and Men in Love: Masculinity and Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century.

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