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I Précis Reviews I Nadine Cooper University of North Carolina at Greensboro Houston, Gail Turley. From Dickens to 'Dracula': Gothic, Economics, and Victorian Fiction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. xv + 165 pp. $75.00 ANY BOOK with the words "Gothic" and "Dracula" in the title is bound to entice many readers, yet the word "economics" seems incongruous within this grouping—until the reader's eye is drawn to the book jacket's illustration of a sepulchral figure grasping a bag of money in its skeletal grip. A symbiotic relationship between Gothic literature and Victorian economics is the crux of Houston's argument: she proposes that "Gothic tropes register, manage, and assess the intense panic produced and elided by the unstable Victorian economy ," while concurrently stating that "scientific economic discourse ... is frequently accompanied by terrifying phantom appendages." She explores these ostensibly dichotomous relationships by first analyzing Little Dorrit and Valette as "two narratives that marry the realist with the Gothic mode," and then studying the "two classic Victorian Gothic tales" of Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Not surprisingly, Houston spends some time focusing on the history of the rise of capitalism in the Victorian era and its connection with the growing institution of the bank in order to firmly ground her argument and discusses the phenomenon of panic that accompanies banking crises. She writes academically but with humor; for example, she notes that "economic crassness also appears quite naturally in Dracula and Dr. Jekyll, even though one does not expect to see the horrifying Gothic protagonist at the bank and certainly not fumbling for petty cash." In chapter five, "'Bankruptcy at my heels': Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and the bankerization of identity," Houston makes a compelling comparison of the doppelganger trope in Dr. Jekyll to the ability of banks to lead a double life during the banking crisis of 1878. In chapter six, "Bankerization panic and the corporate personality in Dracula," Houston points out how Dracula is himself a corporation or amalgamation of all vampires. Very convincingly, Houston provides the reader with many examples of economic consumption within the novel and indicates that Dracula "subliminally" illustrates "the idea that 'the life-blood of the nation is money' that circulates eternally," a bankerization in which the "human body is drained of personality and life-blood." Reed, Kimberly C. and Peter G. Beidler, eds. Approaches to Teaching Henry James's 'Daisy Miller' and 'The Turn of the Screw.' New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2005. 221 pp. Paper $19.75 THIS BOOK is useful for anyone who is interested in teaching these two short but enigmatic novellas. Reed and Beidler organize brief, informative essays from twenty-four contributors into an accessible collection diverse in scope yet 118 BOOK REVIEWS focused toward the main objective: helping students interpret James's texts in a meaningful way. The first section, "Contexts," centers on reading James from a modernist to a new-historicist approach while also touching on historical background. Essays also analyze such topics as gender and sexuality— discussing everything from mother anxiety, Queer formalism, and teaching Daisy Miller at an all-male college. Other sections center on using James's texts to teach composition and theory, and there is even a section on James and film. Most important for teachers attempting to inspire their students with an appreciation of James's "interpretive puzzles" is the section "Classroom Strategies ." These essays are nicely informal explanations and solutions to real-life problems we all face in the classroom: What to do when your students think The Turn of the Screw is boring? How can we get our students to experience James's work more personally? Just one example of innovative recommendations is in Beidler's essay "The Governess as Teacher in The Turn of the Screw"; he advocates examining the role of the governess through her role as a teacher, asking students a variety of discussion group questions that we can employ in our own classes. Another interesting essay is Nicholas Witshci's account of teaching Daisy Miller in Europe, in which he reveals how he was struck by the differences in interpretation from an American versus a continental point of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 118-119
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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