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The Gothic and Death$
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Carol Margaret Davison

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992699

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992699.001.0001

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Deadly interrogations: cycles of death and transcendence in Byron’s Gothic

Deadly interrogations: cycles of death and transcendence in Byron’s Gothic

(p.88) 6 Deadly interrogations: cycles of death and transcendence in Byron’s Gothic
The Gothic and Death

Adam White

Manchester University Press

A number of Byron’s works – in particular The Two Foscari but also ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’, Manfred, and Sardanapalus – can be located firmly within the Gothic. The tyrannical burden exerted by ancestry, for example, is a Gothic theme seen in these works, while ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’ and The Two Foscari also feature the Gothic scenarios of incarceration and torture: in both cases that which is loved and familial repeatedly becomes a source of pain and death. Yet Byron also moves beyond the Gothic view of death by presenting so many figures, from Manfred to Jacopo Foscari, who appear to actively exhibit a death drive, which is dramatised as a means of transcending different forms and conditions of imprisonment and torture. Death is a repeated event in these works where significant and extended claims are also made by Byron for the existence of variously imagined (mental, physical, and textual) afterlives.

Keywords:   Lord Byron, Death drive, Freud, Incarceration, Torture, The Two Foscari, Gothic

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