The “mad woman in the attic” is a common trope in gothic literature, but who is she? And how did she end up there? Integral to the gothic genre are stories of madness and haunting, which often serve as metaphors for social violence, race, gender and class warfare, and the abject. Stereotypically, the female protagonist in gothic literature plays the role of victim, but what about when she participates in her own monstrosity? In this seminar, we will explore some lesser known gothic novels with female protagonists who became “monstrous”, and explore the intersections between horror, mental illness, psychoanalysis, sexual repression, and gender identity in these female authored 20th century gothic works.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingal
Delve Access Program
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