Accidental Migrations

Edward Jacobs

An Archaeology of Gothic Discourse

295 pages
ISBN 0-8387-5429-5
LC 00-037968
Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth Century Literature and Culture

What do eighteenth-century Gothic novels, typified by Ann Radcliffe, have to do with sixth-century racial histories of the Ostrogoths, or with the so-called "Gothicist" historiography about England's "ancient constitution" that was prominent during the Civil War? Rethinking and adapting the theoretical framework and critical methods of Michael Foucault's archaeology of knowledge and arguments about power relations, Edward Jacobs's Accidental Migrations offers a powerful and new consideration of the nature of the Gothic.

This thoroughly researched and closely argued study demonstrates how, despite their substantive and circumstantial disparity, all of the discursive traditions associated with the English word "Gothic" make language interact with the same four fundamental activities: migration, collection and display, balance, and rediscovery.

By mapping the various ways different "statements" of Gothic discourse organize the relations of linguistic performance with historically specific versions of these practices, Jacobs foregrounds the tensions in early-modern British culture between the hegemony of "enlightenment" and reactions to it. By reflecting upon the vexed scholarly practice of describing historical identities, Accidental Migrations makes a notable contribution to the recent theorization and reconsideration of eighteenth-century historiography.

About the author:

Educated at Vanderbilt University, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Illinois, Edward Jacobs is currently Associate Professor of English at Old Dominion University, where he teaches courses in eighteenth-century and Romantic British literature, literary theory, the history of the book, and film studies. He has published several articles on the eighteenth-century British book trade and fiction, and on early nineteenth-century British street culture.


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