ELLEN MOERS FEMALE GOTHIC PDF

March 21, Issue Mary Shelley; drawing by David Levine What I mean by Female Gothic is easily defined: the work that women writers have done in the literary mode that, since the eighteenth century, we have called the Gothic. In Gothic writings fantasy predominates over reality, the strange over the commonplace, and the supernatural over the natural, with one definite auctorial intent: to scare. Not that is, to reach down into the depths of the soul and purge it with pity and terror as we say tragedy does , but to get to the body itself, its glands, epidermis, muscles and circulatory system, quickly arousing and quickly allaying the physical reactions to fear. Certainly the earliest tributes to the power of Gothic writers tended to emphasize the physiological.

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Instead of transgressing morality to gain immortality like his fellow literary overreachers, Victor Frankenstein does so in order to create human life. More importantly, and more interestingly Moers argues, that life is not cast in the stereotypical candy and roses most birth myths are during this time period.

While postpartum depression and anxiety are common after the birth of a baby, discussions of it were not the norm in cultural mythology or literature at the time and remain taboo for the most part. To Moers, Victor is an ill equipped father and overreaching creative who underestimates the gravity of his creation and runs when he faces it, but he is also and more importantly a counterpart to a scared, young Mary Shelley coping with the death of her first child and the magnitude of being a mother.

Because of this, Moers also reads the creature in a more positive light than some of her counterparts. She refers to him as more of a pitiable, neglected child than as a monster. Moers focuses on the trials the creature faces as he grapples with his own psychological development without a parental figure as scared and possibly unhelpful as Victor would have been in that role to guide him through, rather than the violent acts that he commits after Victor rejects him.

Biographical Information Like many of her feminist scholar contemporaries who were writing in the s, Moers relied pretty heavily on biographical information. Unfortunately, she also fell into the trap that is speculation and some of her comments are surprisingly sensationalist. Also, as stated above, Victor overreaches in order to create life, rather than extending his own, which was unheard of before Shelley.

In short, Shelley does not simply copy from the numerous books she reads, she creates and recreates. Audience This essay seems to have been written with a larger audience than the feminist scholarly community in mind, though it hits a lot of the same points that the works of other feminist scholars do such as defending Shelley as a writer and including biographical information garnered from her letters and journals.

The essay overall takes on a readable, conversational tone which communicates its point clearly and effectively without overusing jargon or high academic language, indicating that the essay and the larger work was intended for a wider audience. Also, the unwarranted use of tabloid-like sensationalism can only be assumed to have been a misguided attempt at keeping the attention of that larger, non-scholarly audience.

Citation Moers, Ellen. It also includes an entry on "Female Gothic".

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Female Gothic The Monster's Mother Essay

While several critics have attempted to destabilize the term Female Gothic, its usage persists as a short-hand form to describe narratives in which distressed female heroines are imprisoned in the domestic sphere and threatened with extortion, rape and forced marriage. It seemed ungrateful to question a literary category that made my scholarship and that of many of my peers even possible. Yet, I have wanted to write this article for some time, because categorizing a work as part of the Female Gothic seems to create more problems for analysis than it solves. Other critics have examined closely the categorical problems inherent to a term that links a stable notion of gender to a notoriously slippery literary mode. This discussion takes a slightly different tack and questions why such a problematic term has had such a sustained and profound impact on feminist literary criticism up to this day. This essay does not wish to disqualify the important work done on the Female Gothic.

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Ellen Moers

Instead of transgressing morality to gain immortality like his fellow literary overreachers, Victor Frankenstein does so in order to create human life. More importantly, and more interestingly Moers argues, that life is not cast in the stereotypical candy and roses most birth myths are during this time period. While postpartum depression and anxiety are common after the birth of a baby, discussions of it were not the norm in cultural mythology or literature at the time and remain taboo for the most part. To Moers, Victor is an ill equipped father and overreaching creative who underestimates the gravity of his creation and runs when he faces it, but he is also and more importantly a counterpart to a scared, young Mary Shelley coping with the death of her first child and the magnitude of being a mother. Because of this, Moers also reads the creature in a more positive light than some of her counterparts.

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“Female Gothic” by Ellen Moers

Oxford University Press, , pp. George Levine and U. His skin is coated with wax, which, if left on, will be absorbed slowly and will lessen the chance of rashes. His skin underneath is apt to be very red. His face tends to be puffy and lumpy, and there may be black-and-blue marks.

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