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Distributed for University of Wales Press

The Gothic Ideology

Religious Hysteria and Anti-Catholicism in British Popular Fiction, 1780-1880

Why have generations of readers been intrigued and entertained by tales of evil or persecuted nuns, lecherous monks, dank torture chambers, and haunted, ruined abbeys? The Gothic Ideology argues that the British Protestant imaginary, in order to modernize and secularize, needed an “other” against which it could define itself as a culture and a nation with distinct boundaries. The Gothic Ideology is the first scholarly book to examine the literary and historical origins and uses of these themes, analyzing at the same time their importance in gothic literatures intended for the British lower and middle classes from 1780 to 1880.

352 pages | 9 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2014

Gothic Literary Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



1. Anti-Catholicism and the Gothic Ideology: Interlocking Discourse Networks

2. The Construction of the Gothic Nun: Fantasies and the Religious Imaginary

3. The Spectre of Theocracy: Mysterious Monks and ‘Priestcraft’

4. The Foreign Threat: Inquisitions, Autos-de-Fé and Bloody Tribunals

5. Ruined Abbeys: Justifying Stolen Property and the Crusade against Superstition

Epilogue: The Penny Dreadful and the (Almost) Last Gasp of the Gothic Ideology



Appendix: Anti-Catholic/Gothic Titles


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