Introduction: Defining the Female Gothic
The term ‘Female Gothic’ has become much contested. When Ellen Moers coined the term in 1976 she thought that it could be ‘easily defined’ as ‘the work that women have done in the literary mode that, since the eighteenth century, we have called the Gothic’.1 A definition of ‘the Gothic’ was, however, ‘not so easily stated except that it has to do with fear’ (90). Moers’s pioneering work — two brief chapters in a book which was one of the earliest attempts to trace and value on its own terms a distinctive female tradition of writing — opened up what proved to be a very fertile field for critics. It can be seen as directly influential in the establishing of both women’s writing and the Gothic as central areas in literary studies.
KeywordsWoman Writer Subsequent Reference Fertile Field Literary Woman Sibling Incest
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