Gothic Fictions: Emotion, Contagion, and the Transformation of Experience in Modernity

Editions of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Summary

Gothic Fiction is the most important prose genre of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. Drawing on recent developments in cultural theory, this project is the first to study Gothic Fiction as a literary system, marked by its construction of fictional worlds radically incommensurate with "reality". The project offers a powerful revision of previous accounts of Gothic’s imagined realities, their ability to rouse the emotions of readers, and their consequent impact on the real world. It contributes to debates about the nature of experience, the emotions prompted by imagined/virtual worlds, the dissemination of these emotions through imitation and contagion, and the role of literature in modernity.

Investigator

Professor Peter Otto (The University of Melbourne)