Dangerous bodies

Historicising the gothic corporeal

By Marie Mulvey-Roberts

Dangerous bodies


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  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8541-3
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: January 2016
  • BIC Category: Romanticism, Literature, LITERARY CRITICISM / Gothic & Romance, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: general, Literary studies: general, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Gothic


Through an investigation of the body and its oppression by the church, the medical profession and the state, this book reveals the actual horrors lying beneath fictional horror in settings as diverse as the monastic community, slave plantation, operating theatre, Jewish ghetto and battlefield trench.

The book provides original readings of canonical Gothic literary and film texts including The Castle of Otranto, The Monk, Frankenstein, Dracula and Nosferatu. This collection of fictionalised dangerous bodies is traced back to the effects of the English Reformation, Spanish Inquisition, French Revolution, Caribbean slavery, Victorian medical malpractice, European anti-Semitism and finally warfare, ranging from the Crimean up to the Vietnam War. The endangered or dangerous body lies at the centre of the clash between victim and persecutor and has generated tales of terror and narratives of horror, which function to either salve, purge or dangerously perpetuate such oppositions. This ground-breaking book will be of interest to academics and students of Gothic studies, gender and film studies and especially to readers interested in the relationship between history and literature.


'Admirable! Now at last I know what "Gothic" means.'
Fay Weldon

'This book breaks new ground in Gothic studies by relating a series of enduring images of the body in torment to actual historical events and trends[...] A significant addition to the body of writing on the Gothic, the study of Gothic as writing on the body.'
David Punter, Professor of English, University of Bristol


Marie Mulvey-Roberts is Associate Professor in English Literature at the University of the West of England, Bristol


1. Catholicism, the Gothic and the bleeding body
2. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein and slavery
3. Death by orgasm: sexual surgery and Dracula
4. Nazis, Jews and Nosferatu
5. The vampire of war
6. Conclusion: conflict Gothic

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