Industrial Gothic

Industrial Gothic

Workers, Exploitation and Urbanization in Transatlantic Nineteenth-Century Literature

Bridget M. Marshall


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This volume carves out a new area of study, the ‘industrial Gothic’, placing the genre in dialogue with the literature of the Industrial Revolution. The book explores a significant subset of transatlantic nineteenth-century literature that employs the tropes, themes and rhetoric of the Gothic to portray the real-life horrors of factory life, framing the Industrial Revolution as a site of Gothic excess and horror. Using archival materials from the nineteenth century, localised incidences of Gothic industrialisation (in specific cities like Lowell and Manchester) are considered alongside transnational connections and comparisons. The author argues that stories about the real horrors of factory life frequently employed the mode of the Gothic, while nineteenth century writing in the genre (stories, novels, poems and stage adaptations) began to use new settings – factories, mills, and industrial cities – as backdrops for the horrors that once populated Gothic castles.