Haunted by 'Lenore': the fragment as Gothic form, creative practice and textual evolution

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This article examines the processes of fragmentation and haunting surrounding the explosion of competing translations, in 1796, of Gottfried August Bürger's German ballad ‘Lenore’. While the fragment has become known as a core narrative device of the Gothic, less attention has been paid to the ways that the fragment and fragmentation operate as dynamic, living phenomena within the Gothic's central processes of memory, inspiration, creation, dissemination and evolution. Taking ‘Lenore’ as a case study, this essay aims to redress this critical gap by illuminating the ways that fragmentation haunts the mind, the text, and the history of the Gothic as a process as much as a product. It demonstrates that fragmentation operates along lines of cannibalism, resurrection and haunting to establish a pattern of influence that paves the way for modern forms of gothic intertextuality and adaptation. Importantly, it thereby locates fragmentation as a process at the heart of the Gothic mode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-147
Number of pages16
JournalGothic Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Gothic
  • Gothic fiction
  • Literature
  • Romanticism
  • ghosts
  • ballads
  • poetry
  • Translation
  • literary adaptation
  • Literary criticism
  • literary history
  • Eighteenth century
  • eighteenth-century literature
  • nineteenth century
  • Victorian Gothic
  • Victorian Literature
  • German literature
  • genre
  • supernatural
  • Romanticism--England
  • Fragment
  • Gottfried August Bürger
  • Ballad
  • Intertextuality
  • ‘Lenore’


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