The gothic is always with us. Certainly, it was always with the Victorians: all that black, all that crepe, all that jet and swirling fog. Not, of course, that these are gothic as such, although we do think of such figures as manifestations of nineteenth-century Englishness. These and other phenomena, such as the statuary found in Victorian cemeteries like Highgate are discernible as being the fragments and manifestations of a haunting and, equally, haunted, ‘gothicized’ sensibility. If there is, as I argue in the Introduction, a transition in the nature of gothic from the end of the eighteenth century onwards, an irreversible movement from genre to trope, from structural identity to that which haunts the structures of narrative, it is marked by an inward turn perhaps, an incorporation which is also a spectralization. There is a constant return of the gothic as that which marks national identity without being fixable as a paradigmatic definition of that identity.
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