Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Gothic fiction (Literary genre); Fear in literature; Stoker, Bram, 1847-1912. Dracula; Lehane, Dennis. Shutter Island; Barker, Clive, 1952- Dread;


The Contemporary Gothic genre has been criticized since its inception as lowbrow literature. At best it is considered frivolous “guilty pleasure” reading and when compared with canonized literature it is seen as an uninspiring, tired, and ridiculous genre; a receptacle for any and all work that even hints at esoteric or horrific themes. It is the embarrassing cousin of literature that is shunted into the corner and ignored as far as possible. This, I would argue, is to demean a genre that is an excellent vehicle for the examination of both personal and societal fears. This theme of fear can be traced from the genre’s inception to current day. By examining the changing landscape of Gothic Literature through time we can gain valuable insight into the evolution of cultural fears. Further, it creates a safe and removed space from which we, as readers, can face our own fears. Thus Gothic Literature provides a valuable literary tool for understanding the societal fears at a specific point in history while also allowing us to explore our own personal fears. It is, therefore, a genre worthy of further study and exploration by literary critics. Through the textual analysis of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Denis Lehane’s Shutter Island (2003), and Clive Barker’s “Dread” (1984) I will demonstrate the importance of Gothic Literature as a tool for examining both personal and societal fears.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Karen Tracey

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iii, 80 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download