This introduction situates the volume within the existing academic literature on gothic and family relations, and introduces the guiding research questions. Within Gothic studies, the central role of kinship relations has been acknowledged but it has seldom been studied as a topic in itself; within disciplines that study kinship, such as anthropology or history, the attention for Gothic has been lacking. Starting from the assumption that Gothic fiction is a key site where sociocultural figurations of the family are negotiated, this volume aims to analyze how Gothic figurations of kinship both contest and reinforce orthodox notions of the nuclear family. The chapters address such questions as: how does Gothic fiction mediate the ways in which the family is understood, both as a shifting constellation of social and personal ties and as a powerful regulatory ideal; how does Gothic fiction configure, refigure or disfigure conceptualizations and representations of kinship; when do cultural figurations of kinship become Gothic?
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