From Dickens to Dracula: Gothic, Economics, and Victorian by Gail Turley Houston

By Gail Turley Houston

Starting from the panoramic novels of Dickens to the horror of Dracula, Gail Turley Houston examines the ways that the language and imagery of economics, trade and banking are reworked in Victorian Gothic fiction, and lines literary and uncanny parts in fiscal writings of the interval. Houston exhibits how banking crises have been usually associated with ghosts or inexplicable non-human forces and monetary panic was once figured via Gothic or supernatural potential. In Little Dorrit and Villette characters are actually haunted by means of funds, whereas the unnameable intimations of Dracula and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are represented along realist financial matters. Houston can pay specific consciousness to the time period 'panic' because it moved among its double makes use of as a banking time period and a defining emotion in sensational and Gothic fiction. This stimulating interdisciplinary e-book unearths that the worlds of Victorian economics and Gothic fiction, doubtless separate, truly complemented and enriched one another.

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Extra resources for From Dickens to Dracula: Gothic, Economics, and Victorian Fiction (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture)

Sample text

However, we do know that Gothic fiction, as well as its simulacrum, the sensation novel, was filled with terrors about feminine madness and the possibility that it might be inherited. Certainly, by the Victorian period, the Gothic commonly considered every woman (mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters) as a potential madwoman in the attic. Bagehot’s own mother’s insanity and his future wife’s intimations of mental and physical instability are at least partially informed by this Victorian construction of the feminine.

Naı¨vely unpracticed lovers experiencing considerable anxiety constructing themselves as a couple while physically apart, the pair’s representations of their states of mind are a palpable merging of economic and emotional panic. Walt W. ’’25 In the love letters, Eliza and Walter are forced, if you will, to explain where they stand at any moment emotionally as their love – and the economy – cycles through excitement, anxiety, crisis, and intermittent calm. The material effects of the couple’s economic and social consolidation emerge in their obsessive focus on Eliza’s ostensible illness and her refusal to return to Bagehot until she feels cured.

30 If the sexual, Gothic, and economic climax in the letters is not realized in the description of the wedding, it does occur in a curiously Victorian rite, repeated at least three times during the correspondence. ’’ Later, composing a note to her from the bank, though he confesses that it is ‘‘not a place where one can write metaphysics,’’ Walter essentially implies that their marriage relies on the credit and panics of banking. ’’31 The fact that the lovers implicitly seek to proclaim their love at the bank suggests that the discursive field of banking has set the terms of their correspondence and desire, and, at some inchoate level, that their marriage absolutely depends upon the bank’s cycle of trade, including occurrences of banking panics.

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