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Title: 'Our Gothic Bard': Shakespeare and Appropriation 1764-1800
Authors: Craig, Steven
Supervisor(s): Townshend, Dale
Keywords: Gothic
Eighteenth century
Literary appropriation
Horace Walpole
Ann Radcliffe
Matthew Lewis
T.J. Horsley Curties
W.H. Ireland
Issue Date: 31-Jan-2011
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Craig, S. (2008), 'Shakespeare Among The Goths', in Gothic Shakespeares, edited by John Drakakis and Dale Townshend, Abingdon and New York: Routledge
Abstract: In recent years, Gothic literary studies have increasingly acknowledged the role played by Shakespeare in authorial acts of appropriation. Such acknowledgement is most prominently stated in Gothic Shakespeares (eds. Drakakis and Townshend, 2008) and Shakespearean Gothic (eds. Desmet and Williams, 2009), both of which base their analyses of the Shakespeare-Gothic intersection on the premise that Shakespearean quotations, characters and events are valuable objects in their own right which mediate on behalf of the 'present' concerns of the agents of textual appropriation. In light of this scholarship, this thesis argues the case for the presence of 'Gothic Shakespeare' in Gothic writing during the latter half of the eighteenth century and, in doing so, it acknowledges the conceptual gap whereby literary borrowings were often denounced as acts of plagiarism. Despite this conceptual problem, it is possible to trace distinct 'Gothic' Shakespeares that dismantle the concept of Shakespeare as a singular ineffable genius by virtue of a textual practice that challenges the concept of the 'genius' Shakespeare as the figurehead of genuine emotion and textual authenticity. This thesis begins by acknowledging the eighteenth-century provenance of Shakespeare's 'Genius', thereby distinguishing between the malevolent barbarian Gothic of Shakespeare's own time and the eighteenth-century Gothic Shakespeares discussed under the term 'appropriation'. It proceeds to examine the Shakespeares of canonical Gothic writers (Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Lewis) as well as their lesser-known contemporaries (T.J. Horsley Curties and W.H. Ireland). For instance, Walpole conscripts Hamlet in order to mediate his experience of living in England after the death of his father, the first Prime Minister Robert Walpole. The thesis then argues for the centrality of Shakespeare in the Gothic romance's undercutting of the emergent discourses of emotion (or 'passion'), as represented by the fictions of Radcliffe and Lewis, before moving on to consider Curties's attempted recuperation - in Ethelwina; or, the House of Fitz-Auburne (1799) - of authentic passion, which is mediated through the authenticity apparatus of Edmond Malone's 1790 editions of Shakespeare's plays. It concludes with W.H. Ireland's dismantling of Malone's ceoncept of the 'authentic' Shakespeare through the contemporary transgressions of literary forgery and the evocation of an illicit Shakespeare in his first Gothic romance, The Abbess, also published in 1799.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
Literature and Languages

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