Author: Kathleen Hudson
Publisher: University of Wales Press
Category: Literary Criticism
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This volume provides readers with a comprehensive literary and historical basis for understanding servant characters and servant narratives in the early Gothic mode. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, servants were ‘othered’ figures whose voices had the potential to undermine socio-political and personal identity. This study recasts servant characters within the early Gothic mode as ‘narrators’ who verbally or non-verbally perform dialogue, moral insights and folkloric or gossip-based stories. Examining the development of servant narrative within the early Gothic mode, Servants and the Gothic outlines the socio-historical and literary influences which defined the servant voice during the eighteenth century, as well as identifying and expanding upon the ways in which servant narratives contributed to each author’s unique goals. It redefines servant narratives as a Gothic ‘performance’, a self-conscious self-examination of the ways in which a Gothic narrative impacts literary, social and personal identity.