Haunted Housekeeping: Fatal Attractions of Servant and Mistress in Twentieth-Century Female Gothic Literature

  title={Haunted Housekeeping: Fatal Attractions of Servant and Mistress in Twentieth-Century Female Gothic Literature},
  author={Holly Virginia Blackford},
  journal={Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory},
  pages={233 - 261}
  • H. Blackford
  • Published 1 April 2005
  • Art
  • Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory
In two of Edith Wharton’s ghost stories, ‘‘The Lady’s Maid’s Bell’’ (1902) and ‘‘Mr. Jones’’ (1928), dead servants, despite being dead, refuse to relinquish their positions in their households. In these stories and Wharton’s ‘‘All Souls’ ’’ (1937), servants refuse to allow female newcomers authority in the houses they serve. This narrative situation recurs in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938). The head housekeeper of Manderley, Mrs. Danvers, literally serves the dead by continuing to serve her… 
The “Irish” Female Servant in Valerie Martin’s Mary Reilly and Elaine Bergstrom’s Blood to Blood
This article examines two neo-Victorian novels by American writers—Valerie Martin’s Mary Reilly (1990) and Elaine Bergstrom’s Blood to Blood (2000)—which “write back” to Robert Louis Stevenson’s
"The Deceptively Strategic Narrator of Rebecca"
Since 1982, a rich body of criticism has emerged on Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, often arguing against the perception of the novel as merely a popular vehicle of entertainment. Scholars have found
  • K. Bohata
  • Art
    Victorian Literature and Culture
  • 2017
The relationship between mistress and maid is curiously intimate yet bounded by class. Employers and their servants are caught in a dynamic of dominance and submission, in which they practice mutual
Outside Within: Natural Environment and Social Place in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca
Environmental criticism has held on to its emergent nature. Despite its relatively firm foothold in literary studies, it nevertheless continues to appear as novel, urgent, and slightly agonistic in
Mirrors, Sickrooms, and Dead Letters: Wharton’s Thwarted Gothic Love Plots
Thanks to the generosity of a resident of Lincolnshire, England, and a friend with access to the internet, Edith Wharton’s copy of ‘Jane Eyre’ has come back safely to rest among the books in
Past (pre)occupations, present (dis)locations : the nineteenth century restoried in texts from/about South Africa, Canada, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
This thesis focuses on the restorying‘ of British settler colonialism in a range of texts that negotiate the intricacies of post-settler afterlives in the postcolonial contexts of South Africa,
“Help Eleanor Come Home”: Monstrous Maternity in Shirley Jackson’sThe Haunting of Hill House
This article argues that Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House (1959) employs Freudian theories of maternity to interrogate the subject position of mother within psychoanalysis itself. In th...
Shirley Jackson's Posthumanist Ghosts: Revisiting Spectrality and Trauma in The Haunting of Hill House
  • Tony M. Vinci
  • Art
    Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory
  • 2019


The Contested Castle: Gothic Novels and the Subversion of Domestic Ideology@@@Dead Secrets: Wilkie Collins and the Female Gothic@@@In the Name of Love: Women, Masochism, and the Gothic
The Gothic novel emerged out of the romantic mist alongside a new conception of the home as a separate sphere for women. Looking at novels from Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto to Mary Shelley's
Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton
Selected & Introduced by David Stuart Davies. Traumatised by ghost stories in her youth, Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton (1862 -1937) channelled her fear and obsession into creating a
Can We Believe What the Newspapers Tell Us?: Missing Links in Alias Grace
In the summer of 1843 a bachelor farmer and his housekeeper were found dead in the basement of their home in Richmond Hill, a village just north of Toronto. Their two servants were implicated by the
Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic
This text aims to describe the principles governing Gothic literature. Ranging across five centuries of fiction, drama and verse - including tales as diverse as Horace Walpole's "The Castle of
Engendering Metafiction: Textuality and Closure in Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace
In the five years since Margaret Atwood's novel Alias Grace (1996) appeared, a number of readers have been attracted to the implications of the quilting trope. Each of the novel's fifteen parts takes
Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
I. Approaching Abjection2. Something to Be Scared Of3. From Filth to Defilement4. Semiotics of Biblical Abomination5... Qui Tollis Peccata Mundi6. C line: Neither Actor nor Martyr7. Suffering and
The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination.
In this work of feminist literary criticism the authors explore the works of many major 19th-century women writers. They chart a tangible desire expressed for freedom from the restraints of a
The Amber Gods, and Other Stories
In a cellar -- The amber gods -- Circumstance -- In the Maguerriwock -- The moonstone mass -- The black Bess -- Her story -- Miss Susan's love affair -- Old Madame -- The godmothers.
Between Women: Domestics and Their Employers
Introduction 1. The History of Domestic Service 2. The Work 3. The Women 4. Deference and Maternalism 5. Invisibility, Consciousness of the Other, Ressentiment Notes Index
Tales of Hoffman