Throughout this study, I have been arguing for a double reading of Victorian fiction. On the one hand, the Victorians thought of the home as a sacred space; on the other, that home became the site for undoing ideas about gender and identity. The home indeed turned out to be a haunted one, unable to carry the weight of stable ideas about identity. I have argued that the texts in Gothic Returns represent stories that are buried and return as an effect of haunting. It is my contention that the Victorian novel is haunted by its own ghosts—namely, the ghost of the feminine that returns figuratively through narrative. As we have seen, the Victorians were obsessed with origins, with a return home. This return home is the structural beginning point for most Victorian novels. I have argued that the figure of woman haunts Victorian ideas about identity and home and consequently narrative homes. The Victorian novel thus is a haunted house. It is simultaneously about returning home and not being there in the place where one is supposed to be. This effect is uncanny, and is associated with the figure of woman. The home and therefore identity turns into something that is both familiar and strange.


Stable Idea Literary History Gender Position Return Home Story Line 
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© Eleanor Salotto 2006

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  • Eleanor Salotto

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