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Frontispiece_to_Frankenstein_1831Lawrence Evalyn’s last piece for The Toast was 100 Actual Titles of Real Eighteenth-Century Novels.

As a graduate student of specializing in eighteenth century British literature, I get to read some pretty amazing stuff. The following is a curated selection of actual entries in the index of Ann B. Tracy’s important reference text, The Gothic Novel, 1790-1830: Plot Summaries and Index to Motifs. Before the Victorians turned the Gothic into moor-stranded governesses and the brooding hunks who love them, the Gothic novel was characterized by:

baby swapping, 22, 33, 34, 45, 56, 113, 119, 154, 191.

Bible-reading, dangers of, 99, 128.

blood: alleged pool of, 53; baptism of infant in, 107; boiling, 158; bowl of, dipping daggers in, 116; cup of, in demon’s hand, 10; drinking, 59, 75, 102, 129, 187, 206; on face, from invisible hands, 108; of lover, on cudgel, 98; as noble adornment on scarf, 100; overflowing room, dream about, 137; as payment to witch, 10; spreading magically, 134.

bosom: bloodstained, 9, 90, 116; as distraction, 74, 99, 167; hag’s naked, 75, 100; lover’s severed heart placed on, 33; pawed by lecherous jailer, 75; viper in (figurative), 30, 35, 36, 46, 61, 71, 83, 108, 113, 168, 178, 183, 188, 194.

corpse: in bed, 205; behind curtain, 136; blue, 108; burnt, 33, 191; changing places with, 177; dragged past heroine’s dungeon, 5; as entertainment for villainess, 46; equestrian, 67; physical contact with fresh, 1, 24, 33, 47, 74, 75, 100, 111, 119, 130, 136, 149, 154, 162, 193; physical contact with moldering, 9, 23, 29, 99, 107, 110, 123, 129, 130, 133, 168, 191, 204; plural, in piles, 28, 33, 97; produced as evidence in trial, 167; in sack, 119, 135, 173; of seduced woman, provoking hysteria in seducer, 195; thrown over precipice, 33, 123; in trunk, 91, 125, 148; waxen representation of, 136, 208.

decapitation, 1, 16, 47, 74, 75, 92, 96, 100, 129; interrupted, 1, 30, 193.

elopement, 1, 12, 40, 41, 49, 56, 57, 65, 71, 90, 100, 104, 112, 122, 130, 144, 150, 152, 154, 163, 171, 182, 185, 199, 204; bungled, 99, 128, 174, 183, 185; prevented, 59, 99, 138, 177.

funeral: attended accidentally, 57, 100, 119, 130; clandestine, 186; gorgeous, 114; sham, 3, 6, 65, 70, 75, 92, 99, 138, 191.

ghost: with baby, 29; dancing or singing, 107, 206; fiery, 33, 76, 79, 80; in flaming boat, 34; hairy, 9, 187; helpful, 24, 26, 29, 30, 31, 56, 67, 75, 82, 90, 102, 130, 158, 187, 188, 194, 200; lower-class, 101; murderous, 207; nonhuman, 43, 75, 79, 83, 128; of victim, appearing to murderer, 1, 7, 9, 10, 29, 33, 55, 56, 70, 76, 82, 99, 108, 135, 139, 178, 188, 194, 199, 201, 202.

guest: perfidious, 35, 38, 86, 127; uninvited and sinister, 10, 42, 75, 187.

hand, cold, seizing heroine, 154.

hermit’s narrative, 1, 24, 47, 60, 62, 87, 118, 122, 123, 199; prevented by muteness of hermit, 86.

homosexuality. See cross-gender dressing, confusion of affections resulting from.

illness, emotionally induced, 1, 3, 7, 13, 20, 28, 30, 31, 41, 43, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 57, 62, 64, 69, 75, 80, 83, 84, 86, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 109, 111, 112, 114, 118, 119, 122, 123, 127, 128, 130, 133, 135, 136, 137, 140, 145, 149, 160, 162, 164, 165, 168, 171, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 187, 188, 191, 199, 204, 206, 207. See also death, emotionally induced.

incest: actual, 20, 29, 47, 99, 129, 130; literary flirtation with, 5, 16, 21, 22, 28, 32, 33, 40, 48, 56, 64, 65, 75, 78, 79, 85, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 103, 106, 109, 113, 116, 120, 125, 128, 129, 135, 137, 143, 145, 148, 154, 165, 171, 186, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 200, 2007.

infant, nonflammable, 101.

jilting, 46, 56, 83, 84, 109, 110, 120, 149, 207.

letter, concealed in lemon, 88.

monk, unusually mysterious, 5, 70, 74, 75, 76, 85, 101, 119, 135, 139, 171, 181.

murder. See ax murder; filicide; fratricide; mariticide; matricide; parricide; poison; regicide; sororicide; suicide; uxoricide.

novel reading, dangers of, 35, 37, 64, 111, 204.

novice or nun: debauched, 31, 69, 75, 99, 100, 101, 117, 137; eloped, 1, 84; ruined, 29, 60, 69, 70, 99; wicked, 9, 29, 99, 117, 154.

portrait: fascinating, 9, 16, 28, 71, 99, 109, 193; frightening, 108, 109, 187; with matching ghost, 102, 134, 142, 187; morally supportive, 120; revelatory of incest, 130.

pulp, bloody: formerly abbess, 99; formerly baby, 129; formerly devotees of Juggernaut, 109.

Satan and lesser demons, 3, 9, 10, 38, 43, 53, 54, 61, 66, 67, 70, 81, 85, 98, 99, 101, 117, 129, 130, 158, 166, 206.

skeleton: animated, 80, 82, 88; at banquet, 121; in bed with, 1; costumed, 28, 208; hand of, clutching murder weapon, 139; in quantity, 3; in trunk, 16, 31, 108, 137; wearing familiar ring, 28.

skull, 16, 29, 47, 85, 99, 109, 168, 170; as base for cauldron, 75; at feet of demon, 10; food in, 21; object made from, 53, 82, 109; rat in, 80; talking, 187.

spider, supernatural, 82, 158.

statue, peculiar: animated, 2, 75; with bleeding nose, 193; with disappearing helmet, 193; with secret button, 1, 99; unexpected, 47, 62.

sword, unusual: outsize, 95, 193; with message on blade, 182, 193; self-propelled, 3.

teeth, shot out by former abductee, 63.

villain, gauche: dagger caught in cloak, 33; discovered with monastic equivalent of pants down, 99.

wedding: aborted prior to ceremony, 6, 19, 24, 56, 138, 149, 199; clandestine, 1, 8, 28, 29, 40, 56, 60, 64, 86, 88, 92, 99, 108, 109, 112, 114, 116, 119, 120, 126, 127, 128, 139, 140, 149, 171, 183, 186, 193, 199; counterfeit, 11, 29, 31, 35, 115, 142, 149, 171, 183, 198; forced, 1, 5, 6, 44, 45, 46, 61, 62, 76, 82, 83, 85, 87, 92, 95, 97, 101, 107, 112, 116, 122, 125, 139, 144, 147, 148, 151, 179, 181, 185; interrupted, 6, 9, 26, 29, 31, 33, 61, 62, 76, 80, 86, 88, 92, 95, 97, 116, 117, 122, 129, 134, 135, 139, 152, 178, 187; by specter clergyman, 109, 139.

Work Cited:

Tracy, Ann Blaisdell. The Gothic Novel, 1790-1830: Plot Summaries and Index to Motifs. Lexington: Kentucky UP, 1981. Print.

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Lawrence is a graduate student in British Columbia with far too little adult supervision.

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