Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

The Mysteries of the In-Between

Re-reading Disability in E. Nesbit's Late Victorian Gothic Fiction

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2012), 6, (2), 143–157.

Abstract

Drawing on the example of late Victorian supernatural tales by E. Nesbit, this article reconsiders the function of disability in fin-de-siècle gothic narratives. It argues that late nineteenth-century gothic, long viewed as the repository of so much of what audiences have thought of as "shameful" and monstrous, should also be credited with attempting to remove this stigma—or, at least, some limitations. As we see through a study of Nesbit's work, "Man-Size in Marble" (1893), "Uncle Abraham's Romance" (1893), and "The Mystery of the Semi-Detached" (1893), her late Victorian gothic even used its narrative resources in the service of social intervention, to affirm the erotic and romantic power of "the disabled."

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Miller, Kathleen