1. How can we define the Victorian gothic? Is there a set Victorian gothic mode (rather than genre) that permeates across genres and time periods, or is it just a genre? What are some of the major features of the Victorian gothic?
  2. How is the ecogothic mode used in Victorian literature? What are the major ecogothic sites? How does this impact the human characters? Does the ecogothic change across the 19th century? How does this compare to the 19th century American ecogothic?
  3. How did the concept of American slavery influence British fiction and thought during the Victorian era? According to Julia Sun-Joo Lee, the American slave narrative deeply influenced Victorian novels. Did it also appear in philosophical and political writing of the era? To what purpose was the image of slavery enacted? 
  4. Following Patrick Brantlinger’s definition, the imperial gothic intertwines elements of the British empire and the racial “other” with those of the gothic. Was the Victorian imperial gothic ever subversive? How does the imperial gothic change across the 19th century?
  5. How did Victorian conceptions of liberalism influence discussions of individuality and the self in Victorian fiction? Did there exist a gothic liberalism? How might this connect to present depictions of neoliberalism in gothic and horror fiction?
    1. In Populating the Novel, Emily Steinlight argues against critical readings of Victorian liberalism that “treat politics as a negotiation between the state and the individual citizen subject” (23). Instead, she views the Victorian novel as operating within the biopolitical imagination as the 19th-century novel’s narrative obsessively focuses on the excesses of population (13). How does this influence or alter an understanding of liberalism’s presence within Victorian literature? How does this feature within gothic texts?
  6. In Realizing Capital, Anna Kornbluh views Marx’s personification of capital as vital to reading the effects of capitalism on Victorian personhood in fiction. Should and can capital in gothic literature be read as a gothic monster (or, as Kornbluh puts it, a “monstrous system”)? How does capital as gothic monster infect or harm humanity in Victorian fiction?

Victorian List Questions by Caitlin Duffy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.