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Title: Teen Gothic: Sex, Death and Autonomy in Young Adult Gothic Literature
Author(s): Deans, Sharon
Supervisor(s): Byron, Glennis
Keywords: Gothic
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Adolescence – that tricky time when children have not yet reached adulthood – is a time of much disturbance, change and growth. Faced with a body that changes, stretches and grows in all directions, as does the mind, the adolescent finds that they are not who they once were, and that their concerns are not what they once were. According to David Punter, the nature of adolescence is integral to Gothic writing; for him, adolescence can be seen as a time when there is a fantasised inversion of boundaries: ‘where what is inside finds itself outside (acne, menstrual blood, rage) and what we think should be visibly outside (heroic dreams, attractiveness, sexual organs) remain resolutely inside and hidden’ (Punter 1998, 6). However, this is to ‘Gothicise’ adolescents - to view adolescents themselves as Gothic beings – rather than to understand what the true nature of their concerns and fears really are. This thesis intends to investigate, therefore, those fears and concerns as they are represented through the medium of Gothic texts written for adolescents. I propose to examine what happens to the Gothic mode in the gap between young children’s literature and adult fiction and will look at, through the Gothic lens, Young Adult literature which explores the teenager's relationships with issues such as sex, death and autonomy. As the Gothic is ‘erotic at root’ (Punter 1996, 191) and often focused on the centrality of sexuality, I explore the nature of ‘changing bodies’ and consider the adolescent’s burgeoning sexuality and desire for romantic relationships; however, the Gothic is not just about sex, and I also examine adolescent engagement with the concept of death, before finally going on to study issues of adolescent power and autonomy.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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