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Neohelicon

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 645–661 | Cite as

History-making and its gendered voice in Wang Tao’s and Vernon Lee’s ghost stories

  • Mengxing FuEmail author
Article
  • 63 Downloads

Abstract

This article examines the establishment of women’s voice and an alternative women’s history in the ghost stories by late nineteenth-century Chinese writer Wang Tao and British writer Vernon Lee. Situating ghost stories as a Gothic mode that offers the marginalized groups, especially women, the opportunity to re-inscribe their voice and subjectivity into a fictional history through the motif of the returning ghost, this cross-cultural analysis proceeds to investigate the possible manipulation and mediation of that gendered voice in the history-making of ghost stories. Continuing the tradition of Chinese zhiguai (namely “the records of the strange”) to fashion an unofficial history of the ghost against the official history of the state, Wang’s two stories of victimized female ghosts centralize the obliterated women’s narration of their own history yet veil the mediation involved in the male historian’s history-making. Reading Lee’s ghost story “Amour Dure” as a meta-critique of the kind of history-making through ghost-making exemplified in Wang’s tales, the article argues that the haunting liminality of the ghost in Gothic ghost stories may offer a better strategy for the marginalized group to re-inscribe their presence into reality than a polarization between official and unofficial histories.

Keywords

History Gender Ghost story Gothic Vernon Lee Wang Tao 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This article is part of the research project “The new/old woman in British fantastic literature in the fin-de-siècle,” supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities [Grant No. KY01X0222017096] in China.

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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Postdoctoral Studies CenterShanghai International Studies UniversityShanghaiChina

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