Northern Communities

Timothy C. Baker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The motif of the ‘journey north’ is a central element in Gothic fiction generally, and especially in Scottish Gothic. Whether in Romantic-era texts from Ann Radcliffe and Sophia Lee to Mary Shelley, or in the Highland settings of novels by Iain Banks, Alan Warner, and Michel Faber, stories of the journey north both maintain a conventional association of northern or rural settings, primitive and barbarian cultures, and Gothic otherness, as discussed in the Introduction, and also question it. As Kirsty A. MacDonald argues, the North in such novels is presented as ‘a Gothic space that is particularly prone to the haunting effects of a distorted and abused history. […] This is a community haunted by phantoms.’1 In contemporary Gothic, the North is often figured as an open and liminal space where traditional delineations of self and other are no longer applicable. More generally, the North is used to foreground the instability of place, nation, and ultimately genre. Like the islands discussed in Chapter 3, remote environments are used to foreground questions of relation between both humans and texts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Scottish Gothic
Subtitle of host publicationMourning, Authenticity, and Tradition
EditorsTimothy C Baker
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-45720-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-45719-6, 978-1-349-49861-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NamePalgrave Gothic
ISSN (Print)2634-6214
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6222

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Timothy C. Baker.


  • Dead Person
  • Individual Death
  • Literary Tradition
  • Modern Subject
  • Northern Community


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