Introduction: Establishing the Place of Class in US Gothic and Horror Fiction

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This introductory chapter explores the integral role that class played in the establishment of a definably US popular Gothic literature. While public rhetoric often held that the United States was a democratic, egalitarian ‘land of plenty’ in which any individual, regardless of creed, color or background could succeed, the truth was that many lived in abject poverty through no fault of their own. Duly this opening section examines the multifaceted ways in which key writers, including Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edith Wharton and Jack London, and new forms like the dime novel, used genre tropes to explore this tension: giving birth to a national, urban Gothic in which the poor were frequently ‘Othered’ as different to the more bourgeois reader. In the process these authors shaped the constituent parts of what would become an increasingly popular US instance of the genre throughout the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmerican Horror Fiction and Class
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Poe to Twilight
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-53280-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-53279-4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sep 2017

Publication series

NamePalgrave Gothic


  • Gothic Fiction
  • Horror Fiction
  • US


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction: Establishing the Place of Class in US Gothic and Horror Fiction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this