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The popularity of Gothic fictions, themes and films suggests that the genre is the norm as much as the dark underside of contemporary cultural production. Having endured for over two hundred years and settled onto numerous respectable courses of study, the meaning and value of the Gothic seems due for reappraisal. The essays in this volume, written by critics whose work over the last twenty years has considerably advanced the understanding of the Gothic genre, reexamine its literary, historical and cultural significance: from Horace Walpole to Angela Carter and the "X-Files", new and familiar texts are reassessed; common readings of Gothic themes and critical approaches to the genre are interrogated: Gothic finds itself integrally involved in the production of a modern sense of the nation; it continues to haunt legal discourses; it underpins social mythologies and ideologies; informs histories of sexuality and identity; offers curious substance to notions of community and culture, and raises questions of ethics and postmodernism. Professor Fred Botting teaches in the Department of English at Keele University. Contributors include: David Punter, Elisabeth Bronfen, E.J.Clery, Robert;Moran, Helen Stoddart, Fred Botting, Jerrold E. Hogle.