Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Legitimate HistoriesScott, Gothic, and the Authorities of Fiction$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Fiona Robertson

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112242

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112242.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 January 2020

Gothic: The Passages that Lead to Nothing

Gothic: The Passages that Lead to Nothing

(p.68) 2 Gothic: The Passages that Lead to Nothing
Legitimate Histories

Fiona Robertson

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the subjects and styles of Gothic itself, interpreting Gothic in a way which establishes parameters for the analysis of the narrative and historiographical techniques of the Waverley Novels. It brings together Gothic's dual preoccupation with history and narrative, relating both to anxieties of literary origin by way of the figure of the recess. The frame narrative of The Monastery, which describes the search for the lost heart of the Abbot Ambrosius in the ruins of St Mary's at Kennaquhair, makes architecture the focus of a search which is really about ways of telling, or narrating. So, too, in Gothic, narrative and historical processes are repeatedly figured as tortuous approaches through hidden subterranean passageways to a secret which may finally be revealed, but which can never be an adequate recompense for the terrors of the quest. The interpretation of Gothic in the chapter is allusive rather than exhaustive, and it does not engage in the kind of comparative analysis which would allow it to claim that the techniques and preoccupations which it highlights in late 18th-century Gothic are exclusive to that form. It does, however, emphasize certain matters rather more than has been done in previous criticism, paying particularly close attention to devices of historical authentication in Gothic, to questions of literary and historical origin, and to the problems which arise when Gothic conventions intrude into non-Gothic works.

Keywords:   Walter Scott, Gothic fiction, Gothic structure, Gothic style, The Monastery

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .