The Perturbed Self : Gender and History in Late Nineteenth-Century Ghost Stories in China and Britain book cover
1st Edition

The Perturbed Self
Gender and History in Late Nineteenth-Century Ghost Stories in China and Britain

ISBN 9781032036151
Published August 31, 2021 by Routledge
168 Pages

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Book Description

By comparison of late nineteenth-century ghost stories between China and Britain, this monograph traces the entangled dynamics between ghost story writing, history-making, and the moulding of a gendered self.

Associated with times of anxiety, groups under marginalisation, and tensions with orthodox narratives, ghost stories from two distinguished literary traditions are explored through the writings and lives of four innovative writers of this period, namely Xuan Ding (宣鼎) and Wang Tao (王韬) in China and Vernon Lee and E. Nesbit in Britain. Through this cross-cultural investigation, the book illuminates how a gendered self is constructed in each culture and what cultural baggage and assets are brought into this construction. It also ventures to sketch a common poetics underlying a "literature of the anomaly" that can be both destabilising and constructive, subversive, and coercive.

This book will be welcomed by the Gothic studies community, as well as scholars working in the fields of women’s writing, nineteenth-century British literature, and Chinese literature.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. "Among Dark Woods and Black Fortresses": Xuan Ding’s Mythologisation of National History  3. "These Are What Westerners Refuse to Believe": Wang Tao’s Uncanny History  4. Two Ways to Conjure up a Ghost: Vernon Lee’s History versus Fiction  5. The Dead Woman Returning: E. Nesbit’s Female Gothic Myth

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Mengxing Fu is a lecturer at Shanghai International Studies University, China. Her research interests include nineteenth-century British literature, comparative literature, fantasy, and women’s writing. Her recent articles on ghost literature have appeared in Neohelicon, Metacritic Journal for Comparative Studies and Theory, etc.