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Title: The Gothic threshold of Sabine Baring-Gould : a study of the Gothic fiction of a Victorian squarson
Author: White, Troy Nelson
ISNI:       0000 0004 2705 018X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is a study of the Gothic fiction of Sabine Baring-Gould (1834- 1924), with particular attention given to Baring-Gould’s roles as squire and parson. I have chosen to analyze two of Baring-Gould’s Gothic works, the novel Mehalah (1880) and the novella Margery of Quether (1884), both which allow a particularly profitable examination of the influence of Baring-Gould’s roles on his fiction. In studying these texts I apply my theory of Gothic fiction as a particularly modern genre built upon a "Gothic threshold," a meeting point of extreme opposites which ambivalently contrasts and merges the categories of the modern and the medieval. In the first chapter I describe how Baring-Gould’s unique Hegelian-influenced Tractarian philosophy influenced his creation of the dialectical setting of Mehalah. I argue that because of this influence Mehalah should be recognized as a significant contribution to the literature of the Oxford Movement. In the second chapter I argue that Mehalah’s historical setting in the time of the French Revolution and the influence of Wuthering Heights reinforce Mehalah’s use of the “Gothic threshold” structure and contribute to its theme of ambivalent progress. In the third chapter I discuss the influence of Baring-Gould’s sermon-writing on Mehalah and consider connections between Baring-Gould’s role as parson and the novel’s botched marriage theme. In the final chapter I discuss Margery of Quether as an innovation in the Gothic and vampire tradition as perhaps the only Gothic work that directly dramatizes the Land Law debate and presents that debate as a "Gothic" contest. I argue that Margery channels Baring-Gould’s tensions as a landowner. In the conclusion I argue that Mehalah and Margery display Baring-Gould’s technique of constructing miniature Gothic battles that relate to larger confrontations, and that the ultimate terror presented in these works is the conclusion of the battle between ancient and modern forces.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature