The Gothic threshold of Sabine Baring-Gould : a study of the Gothic fiction of a Victorian squarson
White, Troy Nelson (2010) The Gothic threshold of Sabine Baring-Gould : a study of the Gothic fiction of a Victorian squarson. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b2491747~S15
This thesis is a study of the Gothic fiction of Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-
1924), with particular attention given to Baring-Gould’s roles as squire and parson. I
have chosen to analyze two of Baring-Gould’s Gothic works, the novel Mehalah
(1880) and the novella Margery of Quether (1884), both which allow a particularly
profitable examination of the influence of Baring-Gould’s roles on his fiction.
In studying these texts I apply my theory of Gothic fiction as a particularly
modern genre built upon a "Gothic threshold," a meeting point of extreme opposites
which ambivalently contrasts and merges the categories of the modern and the
In the first chapter I describe how Baring-Gould’s unique Hegelian-influenced
Tractarian philosophy influenced his creation of the dialectical setting of Mehalah. I
argue that because of this influence Mehalah should be recognized as a significant
contribution to the literature of the Oxford Movement.
In the second chapter I argue that Mehalah’s historical setting in the time of
the French Revolution and the influence of Wuthering Heights reinforce Mehalah’s
use of the “Gothic threshold” structure and contribute to its theme of ambivalent
In the third chapter I discuss the influence of Baring-Gould’s sermon-writing
on Mehalah and consider connections between Baring-Gould’s role as parson and the
novel’s botched marriage theme.
In the final chapter I discuss Margery of Quether as an innovation in the
Gothic and vampire tradition as perhaps the only Gothic work that directly dramatizes
the Land Law debate and presents that debate as a "Gothic" contest. I argue that
Margery channels Baring-Gould’s tensions as a landowner.
In the conclusion I argue that Mehalah and Margery display Baring-Gould’s
technique of constructing miniature Gothic battles that relate to larger confrontations,
and that the ultimate terror presented in these works is the conclusion of the battle
between ancient and modern forces.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature > PR English literature|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine), 1834-1924 -- Criticism and interpretation, Gothic fiction (Literary genre), English -- Criticism and interpretation|
|Official Date:||November 2010|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Fletcher, John, 1948- ; Mason, Emma|
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