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 Short fiction

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The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story
Elizabeth Parsons, 1793
Edition and study by Beatriz Sánchez Santos

Often cited as one of the seven novels of the "Northanger Canon", The Castle of Wolfenbach remains to be revealed as a valuable source for the study of Gothic fiction. The accompanying study, which adopts a formalist and liminalist approach, traces the ambivalence of discourses present in the novel. This enables us to understand the complexity of its philosophical implications, which cannot be separated from the novel’s formal compromise between folklore criteria and the strictures of canonical literature.

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The Castle of Wolfenbach: A German Story by Edition and study by Beatriz Sánchez Santos is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-NoDerivis 3.0 Unported.

The Necromancer: or, The Tale Of The Black Forest: Founded on Facts
Karl Friedrich Kahlert (aka. Lorenz Flammenberg, aka. Bernhard Stein)
(Tr. Peter Teuthold, 1794), 1792

Edition and study by Manuel Aguirre

Our second title in the Northanger Canon, The Necromancer is a sterling instance of able Gothic writing (for sheer Gothic effects, some passages rival ‘Monk’ Lewis) combined with a proud use of formulaic language. Echoing Schiller’s Der Geisterseher, and predating a type of English narrative which Radcliffe would later bring to perfection, Kahlert’s novel employs all the necessary paraphernalia to (literally) raise spectres whose reality it afterwards questions. Most interesting is the way it subsequently concentrates on the life story of the imposter. This central but elusive character is both a late avatar of Marlowe’s Faustus and Milton’s Satan and an early instance of the Gothic wanderer who, like the later Ahasuerus, Carwin, or Melmoth, with ambiguous innocence has forfeited his place within human society. The study addresses Kahlert’s use of physical and narrative space, the formulaic quality of his language, and his recourse (similar to Radcliffe’s) to ‘darkness visible’ effects.

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