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The Emergence of Irish Gothic Fiction

History, Origins, Theories

Jarlath Killeen

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Provides a new account of the emergence of Irish gothic fiction in mid-eighteenth century

This new study provides a robustly theorised and thoroughly historicised account of the beginnings of Irish gothic fiction, maps the theoretical terrain covered by other critics, and puts forward a new history of the emergence of the genre in Ireland.

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Introduction: Zombieland: From Gothic Ireland to Irish Gothic
1. Braindead: Locating the Gothic
2. The Creeping Unknown: Re-Making Meaning in the Gothic Novel
3. Mad Love: The Adventures of Miss Sophia Berkley and the Politics of Consent
4. The Monster Club: Monstrosity, Catholicism and Revising the (1641) Rising
5. Undead: Unmaking Monsters in Longsword
Conclusion: Land of the Dead

About the Author

Jarlath Killeen is a Lecturer in Victorian Literature at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of British Gothic Literature, 1824-1914 (University of Wales Press, 2009), The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde (Ashgate, 2007), Gothic Ireland: Horror and the Irish Anglican Imagination in the Long Eighteenth Century (Four Courts Press, 2005), The Faiths of Oscar Wilde: Catholicism, Folklore and Ireland (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), and the editor of Oscar Wilde: Irish Writers and Their Work (Irish Academic Press, 2010)


Killeen’s book is a thoroughly researched piece of scholarship that adds to the analytical literary discussion of Irish Gothic.
- MARK DE CICCO , The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, issue 26.1
If the Gothic emerges in the shadows cast by modernity and its pasts, Ireland proved an unhappy haunting ground for the new genre. In this incisive study, Jarlath Killeen shows how the struggle of the Anglican establishment between competing myths of civility and barbarism in eighteenth-century Ireland defined itself repeatedly in terms of the excesses of Gothic form.
- Luke Gibbons, National University of Ireland (Maynooth), author of Gaelic Gothic

A work of passion and precision which explains why and how Ireland has been not only a background site but also a major imaginative source of Gothic writing. Jarlath Killeen moves well beyond narrowly political readings of Irish Gothic by using the form as a way of narrating the history of the Anglican faith in Ireland. He reintroduces many forgotten old books into the debate, thereby making some of the more familiar texts seem suddenly strange and definitely troubling. With his characteristic blend of intellectual audacity and scholarly rigour, he reminds us that each text from previous centuries was written at the mercy of its immediate moment as a crucial intervention in a developing debate – and by this brilliant historicising of the material he indicates a way forward for Gothic amidst the ruins of post-Tiger Ireland.

- Declan Kiberd, University of Notre Dame