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Reading Gothic FictionA Bakhtinian Approach$
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Jacqueline Howard

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198119920

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119920.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Reading Gothic Fiction

Jacqueline Howard

Oxford University Press

This chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to show the relevance of Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of dialogism in the novel for theorizing the Gothic, and to reconstruct the intertextual relations of selected works of Gothic fiction written between 1760 and 1820. The object has been to situate Gothic texts historically, socially, and culturally by examining how they construct and define themselves in relation to prior discourses, both literary and non-literary. In drawing attention to the plural dimensions of reading in relation to the Gothic, it also indicates its historically changing generic structure as it has continued to fascinate readers with its peculiar order of being, one which, as John Frow puts it, ‘emphasizes the subjective apprehension of a threatening environment’. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.

Keywords:   Mikhail Bakhtin, dialogism, Gothic texts

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