Following the publication of Ghost Town (2005), a complex, globally conscious genealogy of millennial Manhattan, McGrath’s transnational status as an English author resident in New York, his pointed manipulation of British and American contexts, and his clear apprehension of imperial legacies have all come into sharper focus. By bringing together readings cognizant of this transnational and historical sensitivity with those that build on existing studies of McGrath’s engagements with the gothic and madness, Patrick McGrath and his Worlds sheds new light on an author whose imagined realities reflect the anxieties, pathologies, and power dynamics of our contemporary world order. McGrath’s fiction has been noted as parodic (The Grotesque, 1989), psychologically disturbing (Spider, 1990), and darkly sexual (Asylum, 1996). Throughout, his corpus is characterized by a preoccupation with madness and its institutions and by a nuanced relationship to the gothic. With its international range of contributors, and including a new interview with McGrath himself, this book opens up hitherto underexplored theoretical perspectives on the key concerns of McGrath’s ouevre, moving conversations around McGrath’s work decisively forward. Offering the first sustained exploration of his fiction’s transnational and world-historical dimensions, Patrick McGrath and his Worlds seeks to situate, reflect upon, and interrogate McGrath’s role as a key voice in Anglophone letters in our millennial global moment.
Table of Contents
Introduction: McGrath in the World: Madness, Gothic, and Transnational Consciousness
Rebecca Duncan and Matt Foley
Section I: Transnational McGrath
Chapter One: Writing and Reading the Spider: McGrath’s Web
Chapter Two: Martha Peake and the Madness of "Free Trade"
Evert Jan van Leeuwen
Chapter Three: "A cell without a nucleus is a ruin:" Vampiric Creations of the Unhealthy Disabled in Patrick McGrath’s "Blood Disease"
Chapter Four: Revisiting the Spanish Civil War: An Interview with Patrick McGrath
Xavier Aldana Reyes
Section II: Theorizing McGrath
Chapter Five: Madness, Tragedy, and the Implied Reader of Patrick McGrath’s Spider
Benjamin E. Noad
Chapter Six: The Terrors of the Self: The Manipulation of Identity Mythologies in Patrick McGrath’s Novels
Chapter Seven: Patrick McGrath and Passion: The Gothic Modernism of Asylum and beyond
Matt Foley and Rebecca Duncan
Section III: Millennial McGrath
Chapter Eight: The Price of Suffering and the Value of Remembering: Patrick McGrath’s Trauma
Michela Vanon Alliata
Chapter Nine: "You have to be a warrior to live here:" PTSD as a collective socio-political condition in Patrick McGrath’s writing
Chapter Ten: The Liar, the Bitch, and the Wardrobe: Resisting Political Terror, Anti-Semitism, and Revenants in Patrick McGrath’s The Wardrobe Mistress
Dr. Matt Foley is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Manchester Met. The author of Haunting Modernisms (Palgrave, 2017), he is a member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, the administrator of the International Gothic Association’s Allan Lloyd Smith Memorial Prizes, and academic lead for HAUNT Manchester. He works predominantly on modernist literature, the gothic, and literary acoustics.
Dr. Rebecca Duncan teaches literature in English at Stirling University. She is the author of South African Gothic (University of Wales Press, 2018), a member of Stirling’s International Centre for Gothic Studies, and – from 2020 – the recipient of a Crafoord Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at Linnaeus University. She researches in postcolonial- and world-literature, speculative fiction and the gothic.