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Summary of the Project

By far the largest part of Gothic literature has remained unedited for decades when not for centuries. Scholars all over the world keep using between six and twelve titles only --always the same-- to base their critical assertions on Gothic. Definitions of the genre are rendered problematic by our determination to look only at its prose, as by our insistence on viewing it in the (admittedly fashionable) light of late-20th-century horror fiction and late-20th-century critical theory. Through a process of selection, study and editing, the project seeks to recover neglected Gothic texts, and in this way to place at the disposal of researchers authoritative editions of forgotten classics, beginning with the seven titles mentioned by Jane Austen in her novel Northanger Abbey (hence the project's title). This work will be accompanied by investigations that should yield extensive introductions, articles and other materials, and backed by an infrastructure of postgraduate courses, seminars and conferences. The overall goal is to help map out a complex literary genre which, emerging in the 18th century, constitutes both a product and a revision of Enlightenment positions, and casts a look both fearful and nostalgic at pre-Enlightenment times; above all, a genre which questions the pat vision (universalistic, tolerant, enlightened) which the official culture of the age had of itself (and which, to a great extent, we still entertain). In the current critical reappraisal of the Gothic genre, the NL Project calls for approaches that will take into account precisely its uneasy straddling of cultural, historical and ontological thresholds in a word, its liminality.

The Northanger Library Project   (HUM2006-03404) is

  • funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, (now Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Technology)
  • sited at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), Spain (
  • run from the Department of English Studies (
  • backed by the LIMEN Group (UAM research group F-051) (see The LIMEN Page)
  • hosted by THE GATEWAY PRESS
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