Northern Communities

  • Timothy C. Baker
Part of the The Palgrave Gothic Series book series (PAGO)


The motif of the ‘journey north’ is a central element in Gothic fiction generally, and especially in Scottish Gothic. Whether in Romantic-era texts from Ann Radcliffe and Sophia Lee to Mary Shelley, or in the Highland settings of novels by Iain Banks, Alan Warner, and Michel Faber, stories of the journey north both maintain a conventional association of northern or rural settings, primitive and barbarian cultures, and Gothic otherness, as discussed in the Introduction, and also question it. As Kirsty A. MacDonald argues, the North in such novels is presented as ‘a Gothic space that is particularly prone to the haunting effects of a distorted and abused history. […] This is a community haunted by phantoms.’1 In contemporary Gothic, the North is often figured as an open and liminal space where traditional delineations of self and other are no longer applicable. More generally, the North is used to foreground the instability of place, nation, and ultimately genre. Like the islands discussed in Chapter 3, remote environments are used to foreground questions of relation between both humans and texts.


Literary Tradition Individual Death Dead Person Modern Subject Northern Community 
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Copyright information

© Timothy C. Baker 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy C. Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AberdeenUK

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