What is female Gothic? With examlpes?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As its title suggest, female Gothic has its roots in the Gothic genre.  This would revolve around tales of "horror" and "fear" (see first website below.)  The critical element, though, is the inclusion of the woman's voice.  This means that it is written by women, as opposed to most of the Gothic genre, whose writers have been male populated.  The most striking example of female Gothic, in my mind, has to be Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein.  The novel itself is about the "hideous progeny" of the monster created by Dr. Frankenstein.  It was considered to be one of the first "horror" novels, though Mary Shelley artfully used it to be a critique of Neoclassicist science and Romanticist love.  The critical questions or issues that surround female Gothic literature are the following:

A)  Does the genre do more to enhance women's voice?  In a genre that is male driven, does the inclusion of women provide a sense of equality in representation and voice?

B)  What is the relationship female Gothic writers have to power?  Do female gothic writers replace male centered power structures with female ones?  Do they feature an equal power sharing system?  Are female Gothic writers using the genre much like science fiction writers do- as a means to offer insight and critique into the structures and distribution of power?

C)  Does female Gothic offer anything "new" other than the fact that it is a genre written by women?  For example, can the book "Twilight" be considered female Gothic work?  If so, then we have seen a genre on the periphery moved very much into center.

These are some elements that are within female Gothic works.

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