Since Ellen Moers’ original designation of the Female Gothic, the term continues to evolve: The amalgamation of femininity’s depiction in literature and Gothic studies does not conclude with Literary Women (1976). Therefore, this panel will concentrate on the female body’s involvement in what is considered Gothic; as Moers denotes, what “predominates over reality, the strange over the commonplace, and the supernatural over the natural, with one definite auctorial intent: to scare.” At the root of this fear is a woman’s anxiety of childbirth and the subsequent call to motherhood, according to Moers. This fear can be dealt with in a variety of ways: avoidance, elimination, and torture. But what these consequences have in common is a decision between both body and mind. One can conclude that a fear that is exhibited through what is physiological – cold sweat and quivering lips – begins within and cannot escape the Gothic Body. In considering the Gothic Body as a starting point for discussion of the Female Gothic, this panel invites papers to consider the female appearance in Gothic literature, especially its physical presence, and whether this being is avoided, eliminated, or even tortured. Ellen Moers set the pace for discussion of the Female Gothic, and the parameters she set will be considered in the genre’s continuation. Yet this panel aims to further understand the Female Gothic through readers of the twenty-first century.
Please send 300-500 word abstracts to Neena Cinquino, firstname.lastname@example.org, by 9/30.
45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association
April 3-5, 2014
Host: Susquehanna University
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