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Title: Corpses, coasts, and carriages : Gothic Cornwall, 1840-1913
Author: Passey, J.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
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While there are defined Irish, Welsh, and Scottish Gothic traditions, there has been a notable critical absence of a Cornish Gothic tradition, despite multiple canonical and less-canonical authors penning Gothic stories set in Cornwall throughout the long nineteenth century. This critical oversight is part of a longer tradition of eliding Cornwall from literary and cultural histories—even from those to which it has particular relevance, such as histories of the industrial revolution (in which its mining industry was a major contributor), and the birth of the tourist industry, which has shaped the county and its economy through to the present day. This thesis will rectify this gap in criticism to propose a Cornish Gothic tradition. It will investigate Gothic texts set in Cornwall in the long nineteenth century to establish a distinct and particular tradition entrenched in Cornwall’s own quest for particularity from other Celtic nations and English regions. It will demonstrate how the boom in Cornish Gothic texts was spurred by major changes occurring in the county in the period, including being the last county to be connected to the national rail network, the death of the mining industry, the birth of the tourist industry, large-scale maritime disaster on its coasts, and the resituating of the legendary King Arthur in Tintagel with the publication of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. An understanding of Cornwall’s historical context is necessary to fully comprehend the use of Cornwall in Gothic texts by authors such as Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sabine Baring-Gould, Robert Stephen Hawker, and Bram Stoker. The absence of Cornwall from Gothic literary histories— and literary analyses more generally—is a significant gap in our understanding of the role of space and place in the literary imagination which this thesis aims to rectify. Not only will a study of the Cornish Gothic provide new insight into the Gothic as a genre but provide new ways of approaching canonical Gothic authors.
Supervisor: Groom, N. ; Hughes, W. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available