Haunting the law: Aspects of gothic in Dickens's fiction
Ballinger, G. (2008) Haunting the law: Aspects of gothic in Dickens's fiction. Gothic Studies, 10 (2). pp. 35-50. ISSN 1362-7937
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In recent years Dickens's use of Gothic has been the focus of some diverse and absorbing critical interpretations. This paper seeks to address in more detail the ways in which Gothic features in Dickens's various responses to the law in his work. Scenes of madness, hauntings and murder all feature as ways of punishing transgressive individuals in the form of melodramatic substitutes to state law in Oliver Twist and Barnaby Rudge, and the Gothic affects justice in later novels such as Little Dorrit. As Bleak House illustrates, the Gothic also enhances the horror of the law. Dickens employs the genre in different ways within specific texts, such as The Pickwick Papers. How the diverse uses of Gothic pertain to the law in Dickens's fiction are considered in this paper.