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The Dark Thread

From Tragical Histories to Gothic Tales
Edited by John D. Lyons

BUY Cloth · 272 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9781644531624 · $70.00 · Oct 2019
BUY Paper · 272 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9781644531631 · $35.00 · Oct 2019
BUY Ebook · 272 pp. · ISBN 9781644531648 · $35.00 · Oct 2019

In The Dark Thread, scholars examine a set of important and perennial narrative motifs centered on violence within the family as they have appeared in French, English, Spanish, and American literatures. Over fourteen essays, contributors highlight the connections between works from early modernity and subsequent texts from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, in which incidents such as murder, cannibalism, poisoning, the burial of the living, the failed burial of the dead, and subsequent apparitions of ghosts that haunt the household unite "high" and "low" cultural traditions. This book questions the traditional separation between the highly honored genre of tragedy and the less respected and generally less well-known genres of histoires tragiques, gothic tales and novels, and horror stories.


This collection of essays argues that we see the Gothic as a ‘dark thread’ that extends the early modernity of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the heyday of modernity in the nineteenth. This is an innovative and well-conceived contribution to literary and cultural studies that will interest a wide range of readers.

Lewis Siefert, Brown University, author of Manning the Margins: Masculinity and Writing in Seventeenth-Century France

For scholars who wish to learn more about scientific marvels in the Gothic and the fantastique from the perspective of literature as a whole, this volume is an excellent point of departure. Because of its selections, its numerous bibliographical references, and its index, this volume can also handily serve as a source for a graduate course on the gothic genre in French or comparative literature and as a resource for instructors wishing to construct a course on a range of literary genres for a third- or fourth-year course.

Le Monde Français du Dix-Huitième Siècle

About the Author(s): 

John D. Lyons is a Professor of French at the University of Virginia and the author of Tragedy and the Return of the Dead.

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